Doubling down

17 Jul
July 17, 2013

Among many, many others of similar passion:

  1. pat stevens ?@stevepatg39m 
  2. david simon, I hope a black guy punches you right in the fucking face just for being white..
  3. Michael Bailey ?@mikelbtko1h

    David Simon A Jewish man… “One less Jew to answer, One less Jew (cont) http://tl.gd/n_1rldj72

  4. Willy Scanlon ?@shanlone1h
  5. @7sMRD313 Then David Simon should leave for Israel with the rest of the Fucking Jews who think that they own this country.

     
  6. Robert Aguilar Jr. ?@robertaguilarjr3h
  7. David Simon can take the first Asiana flight the fuck out of here too!!

    My actual words: “Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.”

    *        *        *

    Some random moments in my lifetime when I have been intensely proud of my country:

    1.  “Ich bin ein Berliner” and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

    2.   The arrival of U.S. carriers off the shores of Indonesia after a devastating tsunami.

    3.   Standing on a lawn in College Park, Md. when President Reagan arrived to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a black family that had endured a cross burning there.

    4.   The realization that if the state of Iowa — Iowa! —  could accept gay marriage, then a great wall of intolerance was certain to collapse in our own time.

    5.  The rebuilding of New Orleans with the celebration of American culture as its essential fuel.

    6.  MLK’s 1963 address from the Lincoln Memorial.

    7.  Walking among the graves at Coleville-sur-Mer in Normandy and walking the ground at Gettysburg, Antietam and Cold Harbor.

    8.  The first time I actually heard the Library of Congress recording of Woody Guthrie singing “This Land Is Your Land.”

    9.  The night we answered precisely an act of mass murder by the necessary capture or death of Osama bin Laden.

    10.  The Gourds’ cover of “Gin & Juice.”  I’m not kidding, but no, I can’t quite explain.

     

    Random moments from my life in which I have been ashamed to be an American.

    1.  The shooting down of a civilian airliner by the U.S. Navy and the deaths of hundreds of ordinary people for which a president said he would never apologize.

    2.  The assassination of Dr. King.

    3.  Our drug war and the realization of what it has done to our underclass, to the northern Mexican states and to our own civil liberties.

    4.  Extra-legal rendition and torture.

    5.  The imagery of young Americans chanting, “U.S.A., U.S.A.” gleefully in the wake of the necessary but sobering death of Osama bin Laden.

    6. Listening to Irving Berlin’s sanctification of a nation-state at every seventh-inning stretch.

    7.  The federal sentencing guidelines and the evisceration of the federal judiciary.

    8.  The killing of doctors, bombings of abortion clinics and the harassment and stigmatization of patients in the name of a political cause which then claims the mantle of pro-life.

    9.  The systemic response to the death of an unarmed 17-year-old boy, profiled and shot to death.

    10.  The callow  insecurity that accompanies any cry of “America, right or wrong” or “America, love it or leave it.”

     

    As with 300 million other souls, I am fully vested in the American experiment.  I try my best to be attentive to what America achieves for its citizens and by its citizens, and what it offers the world.  When we are honorable and generous and in concert with our stated ideals, pride naturally follows.  When we act otherwise, shame is, for me, the resulting emotion.

    To those who can’t conceive of anyone ever being ashamed, or expressing shame at those moments when this country abandons or even betrays its core values, I’m actually willing to go even further than my initial comment:  You may, in fact, be the one who doesn’t understand what it means to be a proud American.  Not truly and not deeply; not without some measure of shame as well.

    Why not?  Because just as good cannot be truly understood to the marrow without a corresponding sense of evil, pride in one’s country — if it is substantive pride, and not merely the rote, pledge-allegiance mouthings of patriotic cliche — requires the sober knowledge that American greatness is neither assured, nor heaven-sent.  It comes to us from our national premise and ideals — and our willingness to maintain those things at all hazards.  And if you’ve never felt ashamed for us for having strayed from our core values in even the most appalling ways — say, the wartime detention of Japanese-Americans, or a My Lai  or Kent State , or Bull Conner, or COINTELPRO, or life sentences for juvenile defendants, or prisons-for-profit — then maybe you’ve never really acknowledged what the actual stakes are for a republic, or how much work, rather than platitude, is required to assure an honorable, democratic future.  Yes, you claim an all-encompassing pride and you wallow in it, brooking not even a mention of anything shameful that happens on our watch as citizens.  But in fact, real pride is earned and internalized only with a grown-up understanding that even a good or great nation, while deserving of our allegiance and civic commitment, can indeed shame itself. Saying so when it happens is a fundamental of self-governance, as all dissent is a fundamental of self-governance.

    I’m not going anywhere.  And I’m doubling down.  Our national response to the death of an unarmed 17-year-old, and the new legal construct that prevents any judicial redress of his death is shameful and as an American, I am ashamed.

471 replies
« Older Comments
  1. jeff says:

    Would you have named names in the 50’s ? Your compulsion to give the odious Reagan some props, and be ‘balanced’ makes one wonder.

    Also, you really know nothing about Iowa if you were surprised by that ruling.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      I can’t credit Reagan with a moment in which he spoke for fundamental liberty? I can disagree with someone all day long and still acknowledge when they do something right. Ideology is a bad crutch, and anyone who writes people off ad hominem is making a fallacious mistake.

      As to Iowa, I’ve passed through a few times, but I know it little. Still, I know Maryland as one of the most liberal states in the U.S. and Iowa got there first. Very proud of Iowa for it.

      Reply
  2. MG says:

    For a while there (particularly during the whole NSA ‘scandal’) this site was producing some wonderful debate and rigorous argument. It was a great anecdote for the Huffpos and Guardian CIF’s out there. But recently, it’s got quite ugly around here…

    Not a criticism of anyone in particular (hell I’ve barely contributed to any worthwhile debate). It’s just sadly predictable how the Trayvon verdict brought ideologues out in their droves.

    Reply
    • boot-cheese-3000 says:

      You need to be specific. Don’t come here and say something vague then dip, that’s not how debates or discussions are made. What Ideologues are you talking about and what irks you about the whole verdict in general?

      Reply
    • Laser Haas says:

      I somewhat concur MG. The banter and haughtier here is stifling at times. Had I turned off the notice thingy, I wouldn’t be responding to you now; because of the closed mindedness at times. However, that tends to be “part of” debating issues.

      Most of U.S. sit in harsh judgment of dissenting opines.

      Be that as it may, please keep up the banter. Getting along with or without Mr. Simon and those who do (or do not) agree with viewpoints espoused here is necessary, for the sake of halting arrest of human developments.

      I like your candor – and will continue discussion below – upon your other comment today.

      Reply
    • MG says:

      points taken from both of you. I think I just felt like having a somewhat unworthy grumble!

      Reply
      • Laser the Liquidator says:

        Hey, grumble away (the founder of the blog finds it to be an okay protocol)

        Your comment below, was noteworthy; and (sometimes) type-talking to others (which – btw – is not “necessarily” “unworthy”) – especially in the quasi-anon web forums; tends to be a way of self therapy.

        Doesn’t matter if the physician couldn’t heal himself;
        chaos was secondary to the art-of-form endeavor of trying.

        Beets Rum & Coke….

        Reply
  3. Miguel says:

    If the assasination of osama bin laden makes it to the top 10 of america’s greatest moments, one fails to see why celebrating it by chanting should be a cause for shame…
    May the day come in our lifetimes when foreign commandos storm the white house in the middle of the night, put a bullet in the head of the then coward in chief, who, if he is anything like his predecessors, will that week alone have killed more women and children than OBL ever did in his lifetime, then drop his body in the ocean for good measure.
    If you spoke a foreign language, you could perhaps then read a “liberal” blogger from nicaragua, or cuba, or iran, or iraq, or lebanon, or palestine – the list is very long indeed – rejoice at the “necessary, precise answer” to your country’s innumerable war crimes, while gently chiding his countrymen for being a tad too cheerful in their celebrations.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      That day will not come in your lifetime. For one thing, while it may be true that recent American interventions have let to the deaths of civilians at points, and that this is regrettable and offensive, it is also true that American presidents have not targeted civilians specifically and as a matter of strategy, and have instead sought to direct their interventions to presumed military targets. OBL and his crew sought to kill civilians on a mass scale, without the slightest regard to the military relevance of those targeted. They were mass murderers, with intent.

      For another thing, the U.S. President occupies a residence with the full faith and backing of a sitting, elected government of which he is the commander-in-chief and which assumes and guarantees his safety as a national essential — whereas, sociopaths and vainglorious thugs who spill blood in the name of theology are usually found hiding in secret compounds, furtively avoiding the inevitable for as long as possible. One scenario offers the opportunity for plausible retribution. The other requires an act of war against an entire nation-state. In other worlds, Mr. Miguel, you may have the hunger, but you and the rest of this world lack the capability. Or, for that matter, the balls.

      When they come for their enemies, they’ll destroy an office building, or an embassy, or a civilian aircraft, or a synagogue, or a discotheque. When they want blood, they are indiscriminate. When we reply, it is at least premised on targeting the right motherfuckers. That’s a fundamental difference. So no, they will not be sending commandos to the White House. Not ever. They’ll be arranging instead to destroy ordinary, unarmed human beings. Everything from murdering children in a Chechen elementary school to pushing men in wheelchairs off of ocean liners. That’s the kind of commandos they send.

      Your false equvicalency between Mr. Obama and Mr. Bin Laden is as ridiculous as it is dishonest.

      And to the extent that an individual who purposely — willfully — targeted NYC office buildings and a series of civilian airliners, leading to the death of thousands of uninvolved, unaligned civlians nonetheless resisted all efforts to locate and extradite him, his death by extralegal means was indeed necessary, precise and justified. These are adjectives that really can’t be applied to the American president under your passionate, but intellectually corrupt claim of equivalence.

      I do not know of the thousands of innocent civilians killed by the U.S. in the same week as Osama bin Ladin. Perhaps you can be more specific in the extremity of your allegations. Otherwise, again, there is scarcely an equivalence worth discussiing.

      Reply
      • Miguel says:

        ” American presidents have not targeted civilians specifically and have instead sought to direct their interventions to presumed military targets.”

        Really? This is such an outrageous claim, and the evidence against it so tragically voluminous, one wonders whether one should even attempt a refutation in a blog posting.
        The conservative estimate for the total number of *child* deaths as a direct result of the iraq sanctions in the 90’s is thought to be about half a million. The authoritative study is by Harvard’s Joy Gordon:
        http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674035713
        Half a million. Even as we speak, unmanned drones are routinely bombing areas in pakistan, a sovereign nation against which no war was declared, against the will of its also elected government, then coming back for what’s known as the “double tap”: luring rescuers into the scene with a first, small strike, then finishing everyone off with a second strike. All from the comfort of the Pentagon’s control room. Full metal jacket meets 2011, a space odissey. Some balls, indeed. The relevant evidence for those and other displays of manhood from the government you elected such as deliberate targeting of funerals, etc… can be found on
        http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com
        Had I sought to establish an “equivalency”, as you put it, between 9/11 and the direct, predictable consequences of america’s foreign policy, i would indeed have been dishonest, for the latter is incomparably worse.

        Reply
        • Lakshman says:

          I agree with you on the effects of American foreign policy on the many thousand innocents that suffer as a result of the sanctions and such, And the fact that when Americans die as a result of a terrorist attack such as 9/11 the American response to it tends to be so heavy that tens or hundreds of times the victims of such attacks are killed in American retaliatory actions in either “boots on the ground” type retaliation or the drone warfare that David is quite a critic of as well.
          I do call BS on your analogies between some like OBL and Obama or even Bush much as I dislike the guy and the ruin he has brought upon the hundreds of thousands of people.

          Reply
        • David Simon says:

          You’ve got some fundamental problems with logic and fact there, kiddo.

          1) The UN sanctions against Iraq were implemented not by Barack Obama, but by the UN itself, a multinational body.
          2) The American presidents directly involved in the sanctions do not include Mr. Obama. Not at all.
          3) The vast majority of estimated child deaths occur prior to 1999 when limits were imposed on the amount of oil that could be sold for humanitarian resources. By 1999, which would be, oh, nine years before Mr. Obama assumed office, the last remaining limitation of the use of oil revenue for humanitarian purchase had been lifted.
          4) The claims of 500,000 child deaths is scarcely conservative. Actually, claims for the 1990s sanctions deaths range from 100,000 up to a high of 500,000.
          5) Even these figures suffer from one fundamental flaw that claimants to genocidal intent do not ever acknowledge. There is actually no change in population growth for the ten years prior to the sanctions to the ten years endured under the sanctions. How can this be so if half a million Iraqi children are dying from malnutrition? The obvious and unacknowledged answer is that malnutrition of children under the age of five was a fundamental of Iraqi political and economic life with or without the UN sanctions. So that while the sanctions — particularly in the early years of the 1990s — may have resulted in malnutrition deaths, a more fundamental and pre-existing threat facing Iraqi children was the extreme poverty throughout the country, the regime’s indifference to addressing that poverty, and Saddam’s primary focus on military means rather than economic viability. All of these things exist without regard to the sanctions.
          6) Tellingly, child malnutrition did not manifest itself in the northern, Kurdish part of the country that was not subject to Saddam’s maneuver and prioritization. There, child deaths were stabilized and actually reduced under the sanctions — indicating of course that outside of Saddam Hussein’s rule resources were available to reduce and avoid malnutrition deaths if that was a regime’s actual priority. In short, blaming the malnutrition issue on the sanctions alone is disingenuous in the extreme.

          As to your second point, I am no proponent of the drone program as I worry that it is indeed less precise than claimed and that too many civilians are being killed. But your reply does not address your failed equivalency: Are you suggesting that the drone program is targeted randomly to cause civilian deaths, or that civilian deaths result from its use in targeting militants? Because that was my point and it remains my point. The U.S. drones are targeted at militants, for better or for worse, acknowledging that the outcome is not always for the better. The manned airliners, with the exception of the Pentagon flight, were targeted purposely at a mass of non-military innocents — and even the Pentagon flight of course purposely consigned a planeload of civilians to certain, willful murder. Just as the mass of terrorist strikes are so targeted. Merely citing civilian deaths and claiming equivalency ignores this fundamental and dishonestly so.

          As to your descriptions of manful behavior, you have again walked away from your own premise. I believe we were speaking of where armed commandos might or might not fear to tread. I remember no drones being operant in Pakistan on the given night; those were indeed helicopters landing with commandos. And I do not believe that we will see a corresponding endeavor in Washington D.C. any time soon. On the other hand, if those who you herald can obtain any remote weapon such as a drone, a bomb or chemical weaponry, I do not have any doubt as to their imprecision and indifference when it comes to aiming such at civilian, rather than military, targets. They will simply try to kill the most people they can, regardless of who those people are.

          But to bring us back to my original essay: I did not praise the drone program at all. And elsewhere on this site I have expressed my concerns about it. I spoke of the specific and targeted killing of Osama bin Ladin, a man who purposely murdered thousands of innocent people. I was proud not only of the necessary and legitimate response to 9-11, but to the precision that limited the required violence to a considerable extent. You wish for comparable violence in Washington, and I tell you that is unlikely. Then you vent about the drones as if that is in any way representative of the Abbottabad raid. And then, after hoping for the death of Mr. Obama because of alleged thousands killed by him in the same week of Mr. bin Ladin’s death, you are challenged on that number. You then bring up Iraq malnutrition deaths that occurred in the decades well before Mr. Obama had even served as a senator, much less as president. Huh?

          Factwise, you are all over the map here. It borders on incoherence.

          Reply
          • Laser Haas says:

            I’m of the opinion that all of the above parties, this forum founder included, are juxtaposing suppositions of facts not in evidence in combination with emotional angst.

            It is bad form (and probably not even legal – with 500 different USDOJ.gov agencies crawling through every word now ever spoken by you) to make suggestions about the Washington residences and offices being in harms way.

            Please stick with facts (and Mr. Simon, having now broached these subjects {off topic} once again – I would challenge you to start a new Thread on the subjects at hand!

            Would also suggest that you consider reading Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert.

            Though I find him a consummate self-promoter, the facts within his book are only outclassed by the more recent publication by author Andrew Kreig and his book “Presidential Puppetry”.

            As one former military person involved in big Gov and national security is on the record saying;

            “Whatever it is that you think your government is doing and how much, how bad you believe they are behaving – it is far, far worse and more than you could ever imagine”

            Do we seek the truth here;
            or just cognitive dissonance reinforcement of our desired (emotional) opinions?

            I’m just saying…….

            Reply
            • Lakshman says:

              The idiocy of comparing OBL to Obama is something that is so obvious to me that I dont find it necessary to respond with facts to that.
              I’m not juxtaposing anything. Or maybe your comment was in response to the other contributor to this thread, other than David and mine wasn’t your object of scrutiny. But if you meant to include me in the juxtaposing of facts then…you cant possibly be disagreeing with me that for the three thousand something Americans killed in 9/11, the combined life to innocent life lost comparison is many times over in the countries and/or entities we have retaliated against. Be it Cheney and his cronies’ “war on terror” or Obama’s continuing drone business. And yes, I know suicide bombing

              Reply
              • Laser Haas says:

                1st of All (and I despise censorship) – the posting by Miguel at 6:16 needs to be redacted. It is both inane and illicit!

                Secondly, Mr. Simon has made emotional anxiety of the events of his kindred paramount in discussions of 9/11. He remains somewhat obtuse to factual discussion and has juxtaposed the colorful reality he desires to believe against the black & white facts of the issues.

                It is a sad state of affairs – Both!

                Finally, along that same line of banter, (though you weren’t the priority of the critique) – you TOO – swallowed up the babbling, banter, reinforcing, B.S. that has been thrust upon U.S. by black op programming, propaganda and veiled agendas.

                FACTS & veiled agendas such as;

                WHAT HAPPENED AFTER 9/11? All airlines in the United States were grounded for two days after 9/11. Yet, on September 13, 2001, the White House authorized six Saudi jets to fly 140 Saudis out of the United States. Twenty-four of them were Laden family members, were allowed to leave American soil and land in Saudi Arabia. (Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack)

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  Mr. Lakshman, allow me to interpret:

                  Mr. Haas believes 9-11 to have been a conspiracy. I’ll say no more.

                  Reply
                • Laser Haas says:

                  Now you are putting words in my mouth.

                  The difference is, Mr. Simon; is that I’m willing to consider the possibilities all.

                  Whereas you are hard lined against considering any possibilities.

                  That’s the very essence of cognitive dissonance that is annihilating good faith discussion in this country.

                  AE911Truth.org simply calls for an open debate and investigation; because 1500 Architects & Engineers have placed their career and reputations at risk calling the Commission report a fabrication.

                  That is, of course, Mr. Simon (being that he likes placing words in the mouths of others) decidedly being on the side of people who believe the planes and buildings melted; but Mohammed Atta’s passport escaped the inferno.

                  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/mar/19/september11.iraq

                  Reply
                  • David Simon says:

                    Yes, well. Sorry if my suggestion that “black op programming, propaganda and veiled agendas” constituted any sort of allegation of conspiracy on your part. I had no intention of putting words in your mouth. Those that were there already just seemed a little oblique for Mr. Lakshman, and I was just trying for a direct summation. Apologies.

                    Reply
                    • laser haas says:

                      I’m living a conspiracy case SIR. No need to find a way to get there.

                      Nor do I spend my time and talent frowning down as a passion.

                      Just seeking the truth and debate on the reasons why having factual discussions is such a tedious task for a purported educated mind.

                      Enjoy your new, free to be full of integrity WaPo and your realm.

                      You win!

                • Lakshman says:

                  Yes, of course. What was I thinking? You are the only sane voice in this discussion. Thanks!
                  I have no interest in going down the path of discussing your conspiracy theories regarding 9/11. Yes, go ahead and call me simple minded, gullible and any other unflattering adjective but when I hear 9/11 and conspiracy in the same sentence I get tired head. I’m sure you have in your highly intellectually evolved brain a great reason to believe such but in my brainwashed one, those theories border on the same level of idiocy as the one comparing Osama to Obama.

                  Reply
  4. Laser Haas says:

    Arguing the semantics of who did what how to wind up in which way can readily be considered an exercise in futility. We have enough problems facing U.S. today, as well as in the weeks, months and years to come; to where one’s energy/ intellect should not be wasted on those items of yesteryear – but the morrow.

    In Texas a 14 year old was shot with the owner of the lethal weapon claiming the kid was perceived to be an intruder. A rather simple dynamic; being there are convoluted, draconian laws in Texas that still permit one to take one’s wife out back and shoot her.

    How do we utilize the vast expertise, experiences, scope & breath of intellect found here; to make sure no one else demises due to “Stand Your Groud” laws.

    Reply
  5. Adrian says:

    “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

    That made you feel pride in your country? Wasn’t Reagan the one who had actually stalled negotiations with Gorbachev, hellbent on his Star Wars fantasies and on demanding nothing but an unconditional Anschluss of Eastern Europe into global capitalism?

    That moment was a pathetic lie, on every level.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Adrian,

      I would love to see you in a room of actual Eastern Europeans — Romanians and Poles and Germans and Latvians and Czechs who had actually lived in this countries and endured their governments from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. I don’t credit Mr. Reagan’s military build-up with the collapse of the Soviet Union’s array of vassal states; we did that with blue jeans, and rock ‘n’ roll and fax machines and film and books and all manner of consumer goods. But Mr. Reagan had the moment of declaring what was becoming apparent to the entire world — that the Soviet surveillance state could no longer hold a lid on a world in which the New York Times front page could be faxed to any phone anywhere in the world, and that the walls were going to come down.

      And yes, it was a time to say so. And indeed, the Wall of which Mr. Reagan spoke would soon be no more. And for you to pretend there is no marked difference between life in the Soviet satellite states and what would follow their collapse is really untenable. Do you know any Eastern Europeans? I do. And it wasn’t Mr. Reagan’s “stalled negotiations” with Mr. Gorbachev that in any way delayed the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. That battle was won by the West remaining the West and becoming ever more accessible to dissidents in those countries, who were eventually able to assert for freedom. You want to discredit Mr. Reagan for some of his policies, fine. I am no supporter of most of Mr. Reagan’s policies. But raving about an Anschluss of Eastern Europe on the part of the West makes you sound an ass. No one who lived through Budapest in ’56 or Prague in ’68 or the crackdown on Solidarity in the early 1980s would use such language to blame the West for its judgment of what the Berlin Wall meant and why it needed to go.

      Reply
      • Adrian says:

        The operational word is “unconditional”. That which was officially celebrated as a “reunification” in my own country was indeed exactly that, an *unconditional* Anschluss.

        As with the oligarchs in Russia, East Germany was overnight turned into a free-for-all for the rich West, a veritable fuckfest of looting and corruption.

        That’s not me singing the praises of the Gulag, or downplaying the often intentionally arbitrary and grotesque violence displayed by Moscow and its satellite regimes.

        But why do you think so many people did feel “Ostalgie” and even today quite a few continue to vote for The Left party, partial successor to the GDR’s state party SED?

        Is it because those people are all ideologically blinded idiots and/or economic losers? Or is it because they at least intuitively understand and miss the dialectical freedoms they enjoyed living under an at least *official* form of oppression? Or is it because they see that capitalism really isn’t all that either and because they also get it that the ostensibly social democratic party has completely abandoned the social democratic project (faithfully following the example set by the US Democrats and UK’s Labour party)?

        I am half-Romanian, my father grew up under Ceau?escu’s regime. And he, like all of the other people I know who experienced real-existing Communism have little love for what went down there. But they (the smarter ones anyway) weren’t dreaming of unfettered capitalism either, although admittedly many were bribed by the spoils capitalism once offered to the majority of people. Mostly they were dreaming of some form of actual, functioning socialism. When the Wall fell, they were hoping for at least honest democracy.

        Instead, the very moment they were included into the global liberal project, that project had no more reason to uphold the illusion of an eternal marriage between capitalism and democracy. And all our governments are more and more coming down on the side of capitalism without democracy.

        The Western takeover, if you prefer that term, of East Germany’s entire infrastructure happened as unconditionally as today’s increasingly de-unionized working class has to accept whatever scraps are left on, or under, the table.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          I am entirely sure, even without having lived it, that the reunification of Germany could not have been undertaken without some alienating and dystopic dynamics. The West had been the west for generations and the east was at the margins of that. And the east was certainly swallowed whole, without recourse to its own history, logic or origins. But I’m sorry, it is one thing to critique the excesses of capitalism — something I spent a lot of verbiage doing myself — and quite another to even begin to suggest that the surveillance states of Eastern Europe were anything for which nostalgia can be summoned. Or if it can, I can have little regard for it intellectually.

          Marx’s critiques of capitalistic excess still stand, true. But Orwell’s assessment of the socialist surveillance state is pretty unyielding as well. That Wall represented a pure evil. To have an American president ask for it to be torn down — any president, even one that I could scarcely ever support in other regards — was a moment of pride for me. I lived as a citizen of the world, my passport allowing me to come and go as I might. On the most basic level, Mr. Reagan was claiming that right for everyone, regardless of where the armies managed to come to rest in 1945.

          Reply
          • Adrian says:

            Life in Eastern Europe was more than the neverending drudgery and suffering we assign to it, as we do with life in the Medieval. They did have fun, and at least everyone was in equal shit. There’s a real freedom in that, one which cannot exist within the nominal freedom of the West. You can easily see this lack of freedom in the resurgence of fascist, racist and sexist thought, talk and action throughout the free world today.

            Not sucking Stalin’s dead cock, just saying that capitalism isn’t it either. The illusion that capitalism and democracy were ever compatible was only possible in the faux-vacuum created by the influx of money, resources and cheap labour. And the welfare state approach to taming capitalism isn’t going to come back either, and all dreams in that direction are not only useless, but a hindrance.

            Anyway, I don’t think Reagan was “asking”. He was an actor creating a television moment. Maybe I’m being cynical, maybe I’m seeing cynicism. In my perception, he was pre-emptively taking credit for what the people of East Germany achieved.

            Reply
            • David Simon says:

              You might not be sucking Stalin’s dead cock, but you’re definitely giving it a little squeeze there, kiddo.

              Reply
              • Laser Haas says:

                LOL

                (the kiddo “touch” / “stroke” of key-pen is awesome)

                Capitalism and other pursuits of happiness are just fine for the human race; as long as such is checked/balanced with wariness against the logical (but inane) push for One Big Corp running it all.

                Competition is a must; with a sense of humanity spread throughout.

                Socialistic pursuits are contrary to the push for One Big; but an essential piece of the puzzle for humanity’s sake.

                Life must have balance and uniqueness; lest we all wind up as batteries for the Matrix.

                Reply
              • Anna Tarkov says:

                Let me preface this by saying that I prefer American democracy, with all its imperfections, to the Soviet regime that my family lived under until we immigrated to the U.S. in 1989.

                Still, I remember my parents lamenting that some things were better “back home.” People basically got paid to go to college for instance. Maternity leave was seemingly interminable and your job would be waiting for you when you were ready. People had a month off or more from work to spend in the country over the summer. Seniors all had pensions and lived fairly comfortable lives. No one went hungry.

                Now, of course there were many more bad things to outweigh the good and the fiscal and political untenability of the USSR eventually did it in. But you can see why people would have some nostalgia.

                As for the Anti-Semitism us Jews supposedly suffered in the USSR, I’m sure it still existed by the time I was born in 1980. But at least it was all out in the open. There is anti-Semitism in the U.S. too, but here no one will call you a name to your face. Which is better? I’m not sure.

                Sure, my parents weren’t able to vote for one candidate or another in the USSR. There was one name on the ballot. But doesn’t it seem like that’s sometimes the case here too even if there are multiple names?

                I’m sure the people in East Germany had it a lot worse than we did in Kiev. I’m simply saying I understand why someone might say the things Adrian did.

                Reply
                • laser.haas says:

                  This thread starts out disingenuous. The remark on Reagan, inferring it is ubiquitous reason for pride. With a conclusion totally lacking in foundation. Who demanded “Capitalism”? The Wall signified the State’s right to deny choice and that wasn’t the free will vote between capitalism and communism. East Germany was being oppressed into an ideology of another realm and that’s why the damn wall went up in the 1st place; to prevent people from choosing to break free of the tyranny.

                  It is as if the slamming premise purveyor regrets that the Wall was removed because Reagan received “some” credit.

                  Who gives a [c]hit – the damn wall (and tyrannical ideology) was torn asunder!

                  Reply
              • Adrian says:

                “you’re definitely giving it a little squeeze there, kiddo” — Great comeback. Did you learn that at comeback school?

                How about you stop chewing on Reagan’s rotten ball sack for a moment and look at the post-Communist world. Do we have less walls today?

                I’d strongly reject that hypothesis. Just look at new walls that have sprung up since then, e.g. the wall between Mexico and the US, the wall in Israel, the walls around gated communities.

                In fact, one might argue that the rich parts of the world are more of a walled garden than ever before.

                http://i.plikomat.pl/media/i/d20ee73d51f683ade81ebe0afaef7f07.jpg

                An honest rendering of Reagan’s speech would be: “Hey, Russians! Let’s MOVE this wall. We’re all white, after all! Let’s instead build new, higher, stronger walls to keep the niggers, sandniggers, and spics at bay!”

                And you applaud him for that.

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  Rather twisted thinking to suggest that any individual demanding an end to a longstanding political incarceration should be rendered invalid because of other injustices, and even future injustices to come. At that thinking, no one can ever speak to any wrong as long as his or her society remains complicit or might even become complicit in any other wrong. That sort of deconstruction makes all progressive human endeavor pretty fucking meaningless.

                  As to your imagery about Mr. Reagan and his ballsack, I never voted for that man, much less sought to fellate him. I opposed almost every domestic policy he could conjure, and most of his foreign policy as well. But when he stood at the Berlin Wall and said it had to come down, he was right. Not wrong. Right. And I was proud that he represented my country at that moment, rather than representing say, the other superpower which had sealed off Eastern Europe not merely from all uncontrolled and unmonitored emigration — yes, your analogy to say, the U.S.-Mexican border is fraught with dishonest equivocation — but from all emigration whatsoever.

                  If you are so enraged at myriad injustices extant that you can’t acknowledge the culminating moments of a successful end to any given injustice, or give credit for such, you might want to consider that rather than considering the big picture, you’ve lost all perspective.

                  Reply
                  • katie says:

                    I’ve gotta say, this is far and away my most favorite sentence in the history of the internet:

                    “As to your imagery about Mr. Reagan and his ballsack, I never voted for that man, much less sought to fellate him.”

                    Reply
                    • Laser Haas says:

                      Tempered angst, coupled with superior writing skills and the tolerance permitting banter with the obstinate is quite entertaining.

                      Whether it is tucked, plucked, suckled or fruk’d.

                    • David Simon says:

                      I hope you’ve been following the concurrent discussion with this gentleman in the commentary on the “Banality of Ideology” post. There, at least, all of the genitalization in the conversation is actually to the precise, um, point.

                • Laser Haas says:

                  I’m in concurrence with Mr. Simon on this issue.

                  You are perverting the banter with illogical absurdity that is made (initially) quaint, by your utility of risque vernacular.

                  Where, in the first instance, you opened your mouth (so to speak) and Mr. Simon’s comeback did assist you in putting your [its] “foot” in it.

                  You’ve now gone off the deep end.

                  Trayvon was not free to walk in peace because he was a black youth and Mr. Simon went publicly on the record (risking mass public disdain) – in stating he was ashamed for America on the result that Zimmerman got off “Scot Free”.

                  You take the noble risk and go down a tangent of assault on America as a whole based on a collateral attack of an issue that was of great success to the entire world – in the wall coming down.

                  Doesn’t matter who made it happen or what the former POTUS’s motivations may have been, including grandstanding.

                  The WALL IS DOWN!

                  And that’s a good thing!

                  Reply
            • G.K. says:

              Let’s talk about the great “perfect capitalism” lie. ‘Cause “the bigger the lie, the more they believe.”

              [I wish there was a like button for the commentaries. 'Cause I don't want to be involved in this argument but I'd like to click "like" and support Adrian. It is so very typical how Americans assess communism. All the things I've read are exactly saying the same things, which are created by that great lie. ]

              Reply
              • Lakshman says:

                No, if you truly didn’t want to be involved in the discussion you would read the post, comments and move on. You want to be involved. You want a like button because you want to offer your opinion favoring one side of the argument but don’t want anyone questioning it. That’s exactly what a “Like” button allows you to do and I am glad there isn’t one on this forum.

                Reply
              • laser.haas says:

                1st of all the “Like” button is a pain in the ass. Would rather it be A,B,C,D,E – “importance” button.

                Such as the Trayvon Martin story breaking; it irked me to “Like” the story etc.

                As for the collective “Americans assess” – Bull [c]hit.
                Yes, we are borne in different environments;you and I but that doesn’t mean that all of us in Germany in 1942 were Hitler-ites.
                Even in this limited forum, many points of view stand apart. Mr. Simon and I are even diametric on several issues.

                Finally, do you profess yourself to be an expert in Communism? Are you advocating for – or against?

                And what makes you so solemnly sure that you haven’t bought into a “big lie”?

                Or do you think the American government is the only authority taking the license to perpetuate verbal, repetitive, reinforcing bull [c]hit?

                Reply
      • GEAH says:

        ” I don’t credit Mr. Reagan’s military build-up with the collapse of the Soviet Union’s array of vassal states; we did that with blue jeans, and rock ‘n’ roll and fax machines and film and books and all manner of consumer goods. ”

        Don’t kid yourself–it was both.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Don’t kid yourself. Read Scott Shane’s “Dismantling Utopia.” Then go visit the Philadelphia Navy Yard even today and take a gander at the rusting hulks of a 600-ship Navy that Ronald Reagan thought we needed for a war that would never be fought. Or contemplate the money wasted on the Star Wars strategic defensive initiative that never worked. And then, from the pages of Shane’s book, realize how much more effective a simple fax machine was in undercutting the Soviet empire.

          The military-industrial complex can try to claim that victory. But that’s weak gruel. It was the information age and the reality of the West’s rising standard of personal wealth.

          Reply
  6. Snot says:

    You know, a real test for our quaint little democracy will come in a few decades, when whites become the minority to non-whites. I can only hope that the non-white majority will treat us minorities better than we have treated them in America’s first 250+ years. (Full disclosure: I’m white, hence the “us” and “we.”)

    The thing is, I think all the racism deniers, the obfuscators, all the willfully unempathetic across the country see this coming. Oh, you’ll never hear them say it out loud, but they’re angry. I know them. They figure: All right, now y’all done put one’a them in the White House, so now racism’s over’n done with. Wipe hands. Fin…

    But they’re also scared. They see a rising demographic tide and are, through their votes, trying as quickly as possible to erect a ballast against the erosion of their supremacy. Look at the voter suppression efforts flying through state legislatures across the USA, especially in the South. They need to codify into law the preservation of their privilege before they lack the votes to do so. And thank you so very much, US Supreme Court, in your infinite wisdom, for aiding and abetting this process by striking down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act last month. Bravo. Good show. The folks in favor of all this are OK with living in a potentially apartheid state, just as long as they still have enough resources to build a wall high enough to keep all the rabble out. Rest assured, they will be voting for the Venality/Greed ticket in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020…………

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Honestly, whites becoming a plurality might actually save us from ourselves in the long run. When most of us look in the mirror and see American mutt, rather than white or brown or black, we’ll actually be that much healthier.

      Reply
      • katie says:

        Cue the Bill Murray!

        “We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A’, huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts!”

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Just behind the Gettysburg address in patriotic oratory.

          In my family, the arguments over pedigree were between my mother’s Hungarian-Jewish peasantry and my father’s Russian-Jewish peasantry. It’s true that a Galitzianer would sell his mother, my mother would say, but a Litvak would deliver. To which my father would reply, do you know the recipe for Hungarian chicken paprikash? First, you steal a chicken….

          Reply
          • Laser the Liquidator says:

            :0P

            ROFL – thanks I needed that chuckle (much)

            “First you steal a chicken….”

            that’s rich….

            Reply
          • Laser the Liquidator says:

            I miss the days of yore – when Don Rickles could say that

            ‘my wife is forbidden to have anything to eat or drink after 6 pm – or else I get awakened at 2:30 in the morning with a – “hey, pssst, I’ve got to go to the bathroom, get up and help me with the jewelry”‘

            Reply
        • Laser Haas says:

          I was with Bill Murray and gang when he drove his pick up truck around Kentucky during the Stripes filming.

          Also had to shell out $500 to bribe him to leave my 65 friend alone who lived next door to him in Malibu (he kept asking her to baby sit his new gang of uncontrollable ankle bitters).

          He’s “out there” in more ways than 1 – that guy….

          I’m a mutt (either yid, or not, related to Elvis or not, hillbilly or Cherokee or not – Bavarian or not) – depending on which relative wants to belong to what particular group of that particular moment.

          Truth is, like Obama, Liz Warren etc – NONE of U.S. know who we are without DNA proof (or empirical evidence/looking alike) – we accept what we are told (indoctrinated) – to believe whence we come.

          We are ALL (for the most part) Traditionalists!

          Reply
      • Snot says:

        Oh I totally agree, Mr. Simon. American mutt-dom can’t come quickly enough as far as I’m concerned. Once we all look like beautiful Derek Jeters, perhaps we can finally move past race in this country. (Oops, bad example to give to an Orioles fan ;) ) I’m just saying there’s a sizable faction within American society that wants to fight that inevitability tooth and nail. They don’t necessarily do it overtly, but it’s hard to know what to do with the fact that they keep winning elections. I am wondering, Mr. Simon, what solutions you might offer, or do you see yourself as more of strictly an observer/annotator, or something else? I am not intending sarcasm in the last sentence at all — I’m genuinely curious.

        Reply
  7. Laser Haas says:

    Until we come of age where all men/women are simply men/women. As the day may come when mankind’s collective thought process is how to lift each other up – instead of taking each other down. Till that day

    Class/Race are a factor of life that arrests our human development.

    For there can be a day where police are a welcomed sight, honored and respected – Even Loved; instead of feared, loathed and tolerated as a necessary authority that will always be abusive.

    For in the hand of the lawmakers and peacekeepers is the heart/soul of our nation.

    If they don’t care about a dead Trayvon on the ground;
    it is because we don’t care

    ENOUGH……. to make sure that racial bias is NEVER an issue….

    Reply
  8. Katie says:

    Mr. Simon,

    Wondering if you heard Frank Deford’s essay on Morning Edition today. He speaks of the problems with the NCAA student-athlete role, as he often does, but this time in terms of what role it plays in the systemic issues facing African American boys. Here’s a link to it, in case anyone wants to read or listen. Very thought-provoking.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/07/24/204837926/ncaa-should-bolster-and-reinforce-african-american-players

    Reply
  9. Paul Cawthorne says:

    David,

    I’m writing 1) because I have not read your thoughts on the right to carry laws in the U.S. I believe somewhere in this blog, in a response, you indicated that Zimmerman would have remained in his vehicle if he was not carrying a hand gun. I agree with this, and part of me keeps going back to it. Remove the gun from the episode between Zimmerman and Martin, and you remove the homicide. You even remove the altercation that took place. We have, in America, a civilian population empowered to carry firearms to the grocery store. There is no need, in my opinion, to empower civilians in this manner, and it is, arguably, the root of the problem. Why is it that you have not commented on this?

    2) With regard to race relations, and the role of race in the Zimmerman debacle – I have two things that I’d like to ask. One, beyond the question of ‘was Martin profiled’, or ‘would this have happened to a white kid’ is the question – how do whites and blacks start talking about this and working to make it better. If white and black people are to engage in this conversation, is it not reasonable to think that black people should admit that part of the problem is the black community’s inability to manage itself, in conjunction with the white community’s admission that race inequality exists? How do you draw white Americans to the table who perceive that black Americans fail to recognize their own failures? I suppose what I’m asking is, beyond winning the debate, where do we go from here, and what is expected from black Americans in all of this?

    Also, I’m curious how you perceive yourself as a white American who speaks out on behalf of black America. I am white, and I am as outraged as I have ever been by the use of self-defense law to acquit Zimmerman. But I don’t account any of my feelings to race, I account them to being a father of an 18 year old, and to having been a 17 year old who could have been in that same situation that Martin found himself in. I feel, palpably, the hurt of Martin’s father, who said that he couldn’t be there when his son needed him most. I feel for this family, the Martin family, as a parent, sharing their pain. But how do I, as a white man, fully empathize with black Americans? Can I? I don’t share their burden. I don’t come from the ghetto, I don’t live in the ghetto, and to quote a song from when I was younger, I stay the fuck out of the ghetto. It may be easy to dismiss a notion that one must come from these origins – being black, being the underclass – to fully connect with that underclass- but in trying to avoid being a white man marching, how do you account for your own privilege when addressing these issues? I suppose this question might only come up if you are addressing the members of the underclass that you write about, but have you done that? Do you know how they would react to you? Would their derision at your outrage to this injustice, at not being a member of their cohort, silence you? I’m curious to know how you feel about this.

    Thank you

    Paul

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Why do you think it is incumbent on individual African Americans to “control” their own community before their civil liberties are guaranteed? Do you control the white community and its excesses or failures, or speak for its hypocrises? Black-on-white violence is actually extremely rare in the United States. The vast majority of violent crime is intraracial, so much so that while I live in a majority black city, my chance of being killed is no greater than if I lived in Omaha, Nebraska. I know because I ran the figures. My chance of being killed by a black assailant in Baltimore is miniscule. So, the actual threat is vastly overstated by white fears.

      Given this, are you now suggesting that only when you are sufficiently reassured that the black community has self-policed itself of all the pathologies that are attended on its underclass — because, hey, the black middle class is no real threat to anyone, just as the white middle class is no threat — that then, you’re willing to extend sufficient civil liberties so that the Trayvon Martins of the world can walk down a street with candy and a cellphone and survive? WTF?

      As to who I speak for, I speak for me. I’m not speaking for black people, or white people. You mistake me in every sense if you think so. I’m saying that when another American is denied his basic civil liberties right down to the pursuit of life and liberty, then I am less free and my country is shamed. I am speaking for me, for what this kind of behavior does to my soul and spirit, as an American. Why do you, once again, feel the need to create imagined racial allegiances in my mind?

      Reply
      • Laser Haas says:

        How inane is it that no matter how the conversation skews – it becomes racial/radical? No one is speaking for anyone (or can – unless others have assigned that person the privilege).

        What we have here is a forum, online, with a person of larger than average experience/insights – talking to U.S. who have less of such; about a subject that has ramifications for All of U.S.

        Racial inequity is another form of bullying – pure and simple.

        Elites utilize their power and money to skirt the law and burden the majority of U.S. with the bill. The BILL in this case is the sanctity of life is waning.

        For the sake of what?

        Bullies……..

        Zimmerman (as the tape links above detail) – did some shaky stuff. A witness stated that when he worked with GZ, the air of tranquility also was waning. That GZ would do whatever it took to please the crowd, including abusing a middle eastern male ad hoc.

        Though GZ said on the 911 that Trayvon looked like he was reaching into his belt; it is just as feasible that he was trying to make up a reason to use his gun – as it is to say GZ felt he had to do so.

        Bullies are person, persons, people, mobs who pick on others because they feel superior and/or look at their prey as weaker/inferior.

        My disdain for bullies has no barometer…..

        (which is why I’m fighting my bullies to the ultimate end)

        Reply
      • Paul Cawthorne says:

        I don’t think black Americans have to control their community before their civil liberties are guaranteed, and I don’t, personally, need any reassurance from the black community. I do believe that Martin was racially profiled, and that an illegal homicide took place. I think you can argue, successfully, that racial inequality exists in the U.S., and that this case does highlight some of those inequalities. What I was talking about, or trying to articulate, was my own experience with white people who have a difficult time discussing these inequalities, and who, instead, point to the black community and say ‘they commit the majority of crime – they need to clean that up!’. Please don’t ascribe this erroneous thinking to me, I’m simply reflecting what friends of mine have said, even what I’ve read here. And the point is not to apply that thinking to the argument of race/SYG/Zimmeran – that would be ridiculous – but just to say that it seems to me that a lot of white Americans have a hard time engaging in the conversation about race without (erroneously) pointing out the black community’s failures, so wouldn’t it be wise, if you want to bring both sides to the table to discuss a road forward, for both sides to admit their failures.

        Could be that I’m wrong. Could be that white Americans who feel they need concessions from the black community simply need to practice some introspection and realize their own biases. And in no way am I saying that the black community needs to realize its own faults before this case of Trayvon Martin being killed is discussed as a legitimate grievance.

        As far as speaking for black people – I agree that you are speaking for yourself, and did not intend to say otherwise. I didn’t post in your blog to try and argue against your thoughts on race– I agree with your thoughts – I posted in your blog to ask your opinion on how black and white people can successfully begin to discuss these issues (and to ask your opinion on gun carry laws, which you ignored). I have personal experience, talking with black people, that to speak as a white man about the problems that the black community faces can draw ire from some black people, who feel that a white man can’t understand, and I was curious if you’d had the same experience. Perhaps this question is superfluous to the conversation that you are having.

        This conversation about race that is taking place in your blog — it changes as it moves to the street, to the office, to the water cooler. It becomes less about Trayvon Martin and more about the inherent biases most people carry with them. The conversation is vital, and I think your blog is excellent, and as the conversation moves forward, if it does, I’m kind of thinking out loud how both sides can best approach each other and best maintain the other’s dignity. And this may also be superfluous to your conversation.

        Reply
    • Monica says:

      “But how do I, as a white man, fully empathize with black Americans? Can I? I don’t share their burden. I don’t come from the ghetto, I don’t live in the ghetto, and to quote a song from when I was younger, I stay the fuck out of the ghetto.”

      I’m a black American, but I don’t come from the ghetto, nor do I live in one now. Mr. Simon has pointed out several times – people keep ignoring the existence of the black middle class. Which, by the way, which was Trayvon Martin’s background – he didn’t come from the ghetto any more than I did. Blacks are not an economic or cultural monolith. If you want to avoid being, in your words, “a white man marching”, stop thinking of black people as a strictly defined set. Sure, there are shared stories and experiences, and sometimes the vertical identity of blackness can create a bond where no other exists. But that’s true for any ethnic group in this country, right? As for empathy – you don’t have to share a burden to recognize that it exists. You don’t have to share economic or geographic origins to recognize injustice and mistreatment. But if you set a group aside as ‘other’, if you separate yourself in thought and deed, then empathy will not be the result.

      Reply
      • David Simon says:

        It’s astonishing, really. My only guess is that they don’t encounter life among actual black folk to any considerable degree. So the stereotypes prevail.

        Reply
        • Anna Tarkov says:

          That would be my guess. I once heard a reformed Aryan Nation recruiter speak when I was in college. People in the audience asked him how he thinks he came to be so deeply prejudiced. One of the first things he said is that he lived in a place where everyone looked like him and thought like him. I think that unfortunately describes many places in America. Of course there’s still a lot that has to happen to turn a kid in a homogeneous community into a member of a white power group, but as we all know and have been discussing here, one need not be burning crosses to be a racist. That’s where it starts. Where it goes after that is subject to many different variables.

          Reply
          • David Simon says:

            America’s socioeconomic segregation is crippling to all sides.

            Reply
            • James says:

              I think personal socioeconomic experience explains a lot of the perspectives here, fortunately/unfortunately.

              I am a white male several years removed from college. I think the greatest part of my education growing up was being the minority in every school I attended – the super minority, K-12 — admittedly, most of this thanks to busing. The academically enriched programs were established at inner city schools. I don’t remember the exact breakdown — but most of us bused in were White. And the vast majority of the neighborhood kids were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc. I don’t know if inner city kids were bused into the more suburban areas for school programs. Regardless, the consequence of this arrangement was a blessing for me. I was exposed to multiple cultures and perspectives from a very early age. I didn’t graduate high school as part of a monolithic white bubble. My first girlfriend was Asian. My first best friend in grade school was Black. From an early age, diversity was natural.

              As an adult, I have lived in several cities in various states — and the one constant I hear from friends starting families is, “Time to move out of the city.” And into the suburbs. To the supposedly better schools.

              I think a big key here may be busing. Whether for academic enrichment or just to integrate for integration’s sake — the integration of children across various races/ethnicities from an early age is probably the only way to substantively address the divide and create a first-hand knowledge and understanding of others that I think most sheltered, closed-minded adults are incapable of achieving.

              As for policy to get us there — I’ll defer to the experts. Thx.

              Reply
        • katie says:

          That, or some basic levels of empathy.

          Reply
      • Paul Cawthorne says:

        Monica, those words — I don’t come from the ghetto, etc — I can see now, were poorly chosen. I was not trying to say that all black people are from the ghetto. Your comments are noted.

        Best to all.

        Reply
      • Max H. says:

        Thanks, Monica.

        Reply
  10. Lakshman says:

    Why, I wonder is that most (or all perhaps) apathetic/callous/racist comments are by men or at least what appear to be names of men? Now I realize that its is mostly men commenting on this forum and post so the appearance/conclusion is probably skewed. However I see a pattern almost everywhere in society as well where women are generally more empathetic, open minded and welcoming of others points of view. Is the fact that there are so few women in positions of power why progress toward a more progressive society has been painstakingly slow? I’m sure smarter people than me have tried to answer this before so I thought I would ask.

    Reply
    • truthseeker says:

      You know, I’m always leery of labelling somebody a racist because he uses “racist” language. The two are not necessarily in harness.

      Reply
      • Lakshman says:

        I don’t know the difference between racist and “racist”. You may have a point. To me its just a technicality/semantics. I’ll use the same analogy someone else on this or another post on this forum used about the Supreme Court comment regarding pornography…Its hard to describe, especially these days as David says since most of us have learned not to use overtly racist language or tone…but I know it when I see it..

        Reply
      • katie says:

        This isn’t real clear to me either. Words matter. I’d say the #1 rule of not being a racist is don’t use racist language. And vice versa.

        Reply
        • truthseeker says:

          You’re wrong Katie – words are like plasticine you can bend them beyond their intended meaning. If I call my best mate (a man of colour) a black bastard who should get back into the jungle would that automatically make me a racist? If he calls me a honky motherfucker in return would that make him a racist? What about black men calling each other nigger? There is contextual setting as well to consider.
          Lakshman is right – rascism isn’t defined soley by spoken language alone (although it can be) but by a certain tone, behaviour, action, and more often than not what isn’t being said. Flip it around, can somebody who is a black belt PC ninja who is extremely careful and clever over their word usage ever be a racist? Of course they can – they just hide it better.

          Reply
          • David Simon says:

            “Nigga”

            Nuance, always nuance.

            Reply
          • katie says:

            I doubt anyone is listening to your conversations with your buddies trying to figure out whether you are a racist. It’s pretty clear that we are talking about language used in the public forum. Well, that’s clear to me at least.

            And you’ll note that I didn’t say that a lack of racist language = a lack of racism.

            Reply
            • truthseeker says:

              The above scenario is real. I used to go to a gym in England and the gym owner, John, used to call Jack a fucking black bastard all the time. Meanwhile, they go to the pub together as best mates. Was Jack a racist, yeah probably, but his best mate was a black man. Figure that out. Ya see, there is this thing called banter which white liberals don’t quite understand in their race to bannish langauge which they personally find upsetting from the comfort of the white suburbs..

              I was watching Gran Torino the other day, and it reminded me of it.

              Reply
              • Monica says:

                There’s probably a more academic term for it, but this is an example of something I’ve always thought of as the ‘proximity exception’. Even the most virulent of racists will sometimes express a fondness or acceptance for an individual minority who is part of daily life, justifying the emotion by stating, “ ain’t like all them other !” It’s tokenism at its lowest point.

                Words matter. I grew up around plenty of white people who would prattle on about “nigger” this, and “black ” that, sometimes prefaced by “You’re different, but…” We could chat in class, hang out at recess (lunch as we got older), share seats on the school bus, etc. We may have been buddies, but we could never really be friends, in the deepest, truest sense of the word. Every relationship has invisible lines – what would happen when I crossed one, and became just another “nigger”? The candor was appreciated, though, because I knew where I stood, and I knew how much (or little) to invest in our relationship.

                Reply
              • Laser Haas says:

                Would enjoy a legitimate debate between a panel with Katt Williams on one side of the dais and Bill Cosby on the other.

                Raised as one who was always the lowest on the social wrung (because mom moved us around 33 times before I was 16) – also only Caucasian (during desegregation) in an all black/Latino school in NY – it was customary for all of us to utilize “niggah please” in playing the dozens on each other.

                My best friend (Lowell) and I used to go everywhere and test the limits (because we could each box/kick box really well) – of the prejudices of others (and we were both strong long distance runners if the situation proved foreboding) .

                Even if I met all of the old gang today – we would all be wise enough to re hash old memories (and do routines long forgotten) – totally out of ear shot of anyone else.

                If you analyze humor empirically – you will realize that much of what we laugh at is quirky bad (a person trips and spills the lunch platter – Richard Pryor saying to the guy bleeding on the ground “n — please pick your teeth up, put em back in your mouth – the fuzz is coming”)

                It is what we “believe” to be the scienter of the parties that is the basis for how relationships are defined.

                My best friend now is Vietnamese and very short, he calls me fat f—- and I call him liddle frkr in our texts –

                and I would gladly take a bullet for him and he me.

                But we don’t do that in public and would growl like wolves if someone else abused one or the other of us.

                All that being said (so you understand where I’m coming from) – as for the Rule – (and I believe it was Chris Rock’s comedy routine {maybe})

                Free speech is free speech. The comedy routine gist was that, if they guy robbed you at Toys R Us on Christmas eve – you have the “license” (okay) to yell – “Somebody stop that N–”

                The crowd laughed and so did I – at the routine….

                in reality — such would be a sad state of affairs – but the saying would call attention to the dynamics

                Reply
    • Katie says:

      Our society is way out of balance with valuing the masculine over the feminine. Both are inside all of us, so it’s not as much men vs women as it is yang vs yin. One way to look at it is that the masculine values an “either/or” framework of competition and may the best man win. The feminine favors the “both/and” of collaboration and allowing space for all voices.

      We need a balance between the two, because the yang alone is destroying us.

      Reply
      • Laser the Liquidator says:

        Aup – Here We Go – now it’s a woman v man thingy…..

        (just kidding – sort of)

        A very bright southern bell who dated myself and someone in the CIA at the same time – said something to me that has never left to this day.

        Girls have all the sweetness in the world and their portion of the money. The smart one’s attached themselves to powerful men while the rest of the gals try to get the other half of the money.

        As for your reflection on the “yang” I’m compelled to yank back my reflections until you are more thorough in your premise foundation and have supplied sufficient proof of “it” being the thingy that is destroying us.

        I can tell you this, each man that has stolen my career, life savings and companies has utilized a female federal justice in the doing (including 2 Chief Justice’s)

        and I feel both Yinged – Yanged (and even yanked) by it all…

        for I’ve taken notice of “that” (female justice) dynamic long ago.

        If a man had done such to me – I probably would have shot him already…..

        Reply
        • katie says:

          First of all, I deliberately said masculine vs. feminine and not male vs. female. We all carry these traits to differing degrees.

          Second, this:

          “Girls have all the sweetness in the world and their portion of the money. The smart one’s attached themselves to powerful men while the rest of the gals try to get the other half of the money.”

          If this is how you truly feel, then you need to interact with more people. Imagine substituting “black people” for girls in that ridiculous paragraph. Misogyny is no less disgusting than racism.

          Reply
          • Laser Haas says:

            Yes – you did, a “politically” correct “masculine v feminine”. However, it is those “degrees” that you seem unwilling to broach upon – while touching upon the realm of ambiguities thereof.

            Same as Mr. Simon broaching a subject matter and then barking with his censorship authority – We Ain’t Going There.

            Both a bully mentalities afraid of legit debate; and fosters arrested human development.

            ——————————-

            And – once again – you seek to cater to the crowd, pander, look down upon me with a holier than thou mindset; whilst utilizing half baked rebuttals incongruously placing words in my mouth and thoughts in my mind.

            I said a woman said something that has stuck with me to this day. There’s no statement that it is my mindset. Rather it is a foundation of questions that beg.

            You even carry your disingenuous and bullying mentality into the realm of the inane with the Pat Robertson reflection below and personally attack me in a “ruthless”, crass and reckless disregard for the truth.

            Until you refrain from the trolling for a battle I’ll permit the root word to solve the issue of the ignor-ance.

            Reply
            • katie says:

              Whatever, Mr Laser. You’re just talking in circles.

              I am wondering which part of this predominately male crowd I’m pandering to. Maybe I’m just the world’s worst panderer.

              Maybe if we stick to the topic at hand, we’ll have better luck.

              Sorry for the distractions, Mr. Simon.

              Reply
      • truthseeker says:

        Agree mostly, but I don’t think the imbalance is destroying us, it’s just making it harder for society to function as it should do.

        Reply
    • Anna Tarkov says:

      Many people (myself included) believe that the world would indeed be a better place if there were more women at the helm in business, politics, technology and many other fields. Women do have the qualities you mentioned in greater abundance than men and we are also more likely to be better listeners, seek consensus, multitask effectively and much more. The differences between men’s and women’s brains have been studied so there is science behind this. I don’t know if anyone has ever studied whether the incidence of racism is higher in men; I would think it would be very difficult to determine. Anecdotally though, it does seem to be the case that women are more tolerant overall than men. In my experience, men are more rigid while women are more flexible.

      In addition, I think it’s easier to be tolerant and feel more of a kinship to those who have been discriminated against when one has themselves been the victim of unfair treatment. Recall that women still aren’t paid the same for their work as men and there is still systemic sexism I many corners of American society. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that all the advances in women’s rights have happened over a relatively short period of time, just as the advances for blacl people have. And neither struggle is completely over. No matter how much some people want to sweep things like this under the rug, there is still much to do.

      As for your comment about few women posting here, I don’t know what the ratio is but I would hazard a guess that there ARE more men. Other than myself, I’ve seen only a few other women in the comments here. A woman who reads this blog actually pinged me on Twitter to say how nice it was for her to read a female voice here. She said where she lives, politics is more a man’s world and she doesn’t know many women who discuss political issues. She lives in Texas, she told me, but I would guess there are many other places around the country where this is true. I guess many women feel politics just isn’t their business and so they aren’t informed on the issues, don’t closely follow the news, etc. In many cases, women probably lack the time to do so, because they are doing the lion’s share of childcare, housework, etc. To me, this is deeply troubling. In fact, it’s deeply troubling to me that anyone, regardless of gender, isn’t informed politically. Alas, it seems to be somewhat common, as our low voter turnout rates and other stats tell us.

      Reply
      • katie says:

        Hello fellow female. :) A good friend of mine gave a TedX talk about conscious feminine leadership. Here’s the video and I hope you (and everyone) will find it worthwhile.

        Reply
      • Lakshman says:

        Concur, on all points. To your point about women feeling politics isn’t any of their business…I live in TX and agree with your friend. Politics here indeed is a man’s world. Probably true of many places, not just TX though. Especially in traditionally patriarchal societies like mine. As an example, my wife became a US citizen in 2005, could and should have voted in subsequent elections including the big one in 2008. She just didn’t care. enough. I kept asking her to, she never did. I became a citizen last year, voted in Nov 2012 and she went along with me to vote. So…

        Reply
        • Anna Tarkov says:

          Yeah… like I said, it’s very sad to me. My mother is the same way. But I guess you can’t force people to be interested in something if they’re not.

          Reply
        • truthseeker says:

          That’s democracy – but if you don’t vote stop whinging about the government, tax raises, price of fuel, cost of property, etc, etc. You opted out – suck it up.

          Reply
      • Laser the Liquidator says:

        Anna

        1st off – please read my “just prior” remarks on this to Katie (directly above). Secondly, does anyone remember how Bill Maher’s show “originally” started?

        Politically Incorrect.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Maher

        Only Bible thumping RWNJ ‘s (for the most part) insist that women are not entitled to equal pay. Our federal government knows better than to even try such crap and intelligent women realize that such philosophy is borne of “class consciousness” (that would be ruling class) consciousness and corruption.

        Corrupt men of power realize that women are less likely to be confronted by angry men who are being subject to abuse of power and/or authority. Hence – intelligent women, willing to be corrupt – can advance themselves more readily. (This is the same logic, true to form of “sleeping one’s way to the top” – as was demonstrated in Demi Moore’s movie with Michael Douglas – in multiple ways {the woman who helped Michael Douglas also – corruptly – played multiple sides of the chess games to get her to be top dog}).

        Ruthlessness (note the root word is a gal’s name) “IS” – more often than not – a matter of chicanery/ corruption.

        Bill Maher demonstrated his character and put $1 million of his own money – publicly – for Obama. At the same time Mr. Maher has openly spoken his mind about some of Obama’s failures and said he won’t be sending such a stipend again..

        The issues of Trayvon v Zimmerman are also an issue of “class crash consciousness”. If the roles were reversed and Zimmerman (a son of a judge) – was dead on the ground – only the incongruous would dare argue that non-white Trayvon would have gotten the same – rush to not guilty SYG reaction by the Sanford Police (who already had a history of bad faith abuses of non-whites).

        We, Americans (and the human race) are constantly in a flux of arrested human development; due to our bias and class consciousness.

        Here in SoCal women were the ground force – By Far- in pushing for Obama. If (perhaps) an empirical study were to be done (independent and pure) on woman as housewives being politicos, versus women not married as politicos – I would be you’d find many more “non-married” woman involved in political discussions/processes.

        Maybe the solution is to adopt the N’arn way (Babylon 5) and children belong not to any parent and roam around developing as they wish (even picking their own names at age of 10) – and to further expand on that free society pureness by marriage becoming a thing of the past.

        Would women be more free to be – Then?

        Reply
        • katie says:

          Ruthlessness — the root word is rue, not ruth. Rue comes from an Old English word.

          Ruth – A woman’s name from ancient Hebrew derived from a word that means “female companion.”

          http://www.etymonline.com/

          On the rest of you post, you have me baffled. Feminism isn’t about throwing out the institutions of marriage and raising families. There are also lots of intelligent and ambitions women who don’t sleep their way to the top. If I were you, I’d stop forming all my opinions based on television and movies.

          Seriously, imagine inserting “African Americans” or “black people” into any of these generalizations you are making. Sad that I have to tell you to do that, but it seems like there’s a real disconnect there.

          Reply
          • Laser Haas says:

            FIRST of all-

            Merriam Webster states “without ruth” and / or your neat argument void of the reality that “coin of phrase” occurs when obvious overruns mundane.

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/word/word.php?date=Apr-02-2010

            ————————————————

            Movies imitate life and are more surreal than your biased haughtier is willing to give them credit for. (Odd case in point is the “Ghost Writer” and the good faith reason why the director {with a very bad history} – was being attacked by the U.S. DOJ dot Gov…..

            Being that your disconnection seeks first to find fault and put down – instead of legitimate discussion about what society is doing;

            chances are good results will be futile.

            —————————————————-

            If you insert Hitler as GZ and a dead yiddish youth on the ground – imagine the uproar and call for lynching.

            Sheessshhhh – it is NO wonder why the remarks on serious items of “sequestering” and such is getting NO discussion whatsoever.

            WE tends to be the side of the prominent (bully) of the given moment. You’d rather make me out to be the subject of your disdain (one who has man LGBT friends and women who adore me – in person {even though I’m way out of shape} – also been a victim of child abuse, daughter abducted, only white in all black school – lived in 18 states and SO much more).

            Instead of having a legitimate discussion on the issues at hand – whilst also trying to seek a solution.

            Sucks to me – trying to be legitimate…

            Reply
        • katie says:

          In fact, you sound in perfect harmony with Pat Roberston.

          “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
          (from a 1992 fundraising letter)

          Reply
  11. Laser Haas says:

    Mr. Simon;

    Have you ever considered the dynamic of a more quaint blog name?

    David Simon Says…..

    (I’m just sayin………. it’ll get more playing)

    And – btw – also remember to acquire any similar web name
    (especially David-Simon and {if you do go there} “David-Simon-Says”)

    My Petters-Fraud website web hits were 4 to 1 of the pettersfraud

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Fuck quaint.

      Reply
      • Sweeta says:

        May I please, pleease, PLEASE sit in a room with you and just listen to you talk for a good while. I promise, No touching. hashtag-lovethisblog hashtag-loveyourdamnshows hashtag-amazeballs

        Reply
      • Anna Tarkov says:

        You win the Internet David :) Fuck quaint indeed.

        I’m continuing to wait patiently for you to come to Chicago for beers or any adult beverage of your choice. It’s on me. We can talk about newspaper paywalls. Kidding! Though, hell, why not?

        Reply
      • Laser Haas says:

        Be sure to use protection….

        Reply
        • truthseeker says:

          I notice Obama’s presidency isn’t on the list. Phew, there’s hope for Simon. Obama is a liar. Worse – way worse – then Dubya.

          Reply
          • Laser Haas says:

            People’s cognitive dissonance about the realities of our country (war mongering empire for oil) – and misguided belief that the POTUS runs the country – isn’t quaint –

            it’s disheartening….(sad state of affairs).

            Obama’s parents met at a Russian language class in Hawaii.

            Does that spell out who he “really” is?

            If not – then read the new book by Washington D.C. Attorney, Radio Show Host, National Press Club insider Andrew Kreig – titled

            “Presidential Puppetery”.

            Email me and I’ll send you a review copy (it mentions my battle with Romney on page 230, 231).

            Reply
            • truthseeker says:

              Here’s what I believe. Every job is a role. It comes with assumed responsibilities to fulfiil the role – regardless of the written job specification. At the moment, the role of the united stasis of america president is to continue along the same path the previous incumbents filled – with no wriggle room. At this stage – America is run by corporations. The only difference between presidents is the rhetoric employed to get that job done. The job is to put the people to sleep. No more no less. At this stage, you can put Jo Bloggs from the local neighbourhood bar in charge of the presidency and the same results will accrue. The system is on a one-way track down a spiral staircase. It all ends the same.

              I don’t blame Obama. Obama is just another puppet of the regime. At this stage, unless there is a massive seismic shift in public opinion about what American life is all about – forget cheaper gas, medicare et al – then we’ll continue to see more of the same , and worse. The system won’t allow any deviation from it’s course of action, and the current players are going to get steam-rolled into conformity by invisible forces of the collective pushing down on them – hard, fast, and without remorse. Bradley Manning springs to mind.
              .

              Reply
              • laser haas says:

                Obama and Michele came from Sidley & Austin. My partner (who lost $250 million to Goldman Sachs/ Bain Capital’s Paul Traub /Tom Petters) – also utilized Sidley & Austin.

                He believed that he had Eric Holder’s ear (and his family history would Blow Your Mind as to the verity of such giving good grounds that he had just that) – where he could implement my plan and turn it all around.

                When my book comes out in 2014 Dec/ Jan 2015 – you’ll understand why Obama was never going to lose any election to Pitten’s.

                Presidents are puppets, like Jamie Dimon and Llyod Blankfein are.

                They can run things and receive the glory and wealth of Alvaraz – as long as they never interfere with the real Puppet Masters.

                As Dimon or Blankfein can be ousted by the Board

                so – too – can any Prez….

                Reply
                • truthseeker says:

                  the prez can be ousted, but at this stage it doesn’t mean anything, you get another paper leader and the juggernaut still rolls down the hill, regardless – just a different set of brakes. That’s why less government is always better – they really are just the fleas on the dog.

                  Reply
                • Laser Haas says:

                  Respond- TS@10:40

                  We “have” improved as a nation, in both ways n means of doing better and being worse.

                  In all probability even Mr. Simon would have to look up the race riots of 1921 and what happened to “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa.

                  It was a joy (for me) to see our country elect a non-Caucasian with a very odd name as POTUS.

                  On the subject of Obama, his life style, his parents, even his sexual preferences – i’m fully aware. He’s still 1/2 the ebol that Romney would have been (and NOT just because of my personal civil war with Pitten’s).

                  GWB left the “boy” a back of worms to set him up for a downfall; but President Obama’s Administration handle those (inherited) dilemma’s – in world class fashion.

                  The difference between your “we’re frkd mindset” and mine – is that I’m (daily) doing something about it on many fronts – and invite you all to do the same.

                  They (the nefarious hordes/ Dick Chenney’s and GZ’s/SYG wicked one’s get away with it);

                  because we stand idle by – or buy into their babbling B.S. – and allow them to do so.

                  Reply
                  • truthseeker says:

                    The fact that Americans went batshit over Obama’s election success says it all. So fucking what if he’s a black man? Jeezus. For real?

                    As for doing something, I’m an impartial observer of American foreign policy, whilst living in NZ. There’s a saying here – when the US gets a cough, we get the flu. It’s important to me what happens in the US – although they regard us as “Mexicans with cellphones”. From this far away, with no power (c’mon, I’m a poor student, barely able to afford soup-mix) I’m just bitching.

                    Reply
                  • truthseeker says:

                    I will say it is a pleasure to be able to put forth my bullshit, and have it slapped down en-masse by the posters on this site. I’m learning a lot here. My friends have no interest in politics – how I envy them! Their lives revolve around the outcome of the All Blacks last game – jeezus, can you imagine how sweet life would be if you could live like that? Haha, we win everything.Oh well, back to watching a video about how Obama lies. And he does…lots.

                    Reply
  12. Laser Haas says:

    If one pays attention to the several key pieces of evidence irrefutable.

    GZ’s 911 call – the non visual witnesses “during the shot moment” 911 call

    and

    George Zimmerman’s Police interview (combined with the Medical Examiner’s testimony that Trayvon had NO DNA of Zim’s upon him and the Emergency medical response teams remarks/combined with police cell phone pic of GZ at the very moment)

    Then the conclusions would be far different than the banter heretofore.

    1 – 911 Transcript
    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

    2 – Picks of George Zimmerman immediately thereafter
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/03/1213239/-Officer-s-Cellphone-Pics-Show-Zimmerman-May-NOT-Have-Been-Punched-the-Night-he-Killed-Trayvon

    3 – Police interview the night of the homicide
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nARWOZO4Kg

    4. Medical Examiner testified NO Zimmerman DNA on Trayvon’s hand/fingernails and EMS testimony injuries insignificant (no bloody mucous membrane of the nose)

    5. 911 Recording – AFTER the shooting by Jane (warning – it is emotional)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llX90xbd8Ug

    6. Jenna Lauer 911 call when Trayvon was shot and other 911 calls
    with an attempt to “timeline” each
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgqMucTblCg

    NOTE: – there are a 3 items here TellTale of huge significance…….

    Reply
  13. Milford Avenue Charlie says:

    I was hoping with the screen name to jog your memory from 45 years ago. I am a year older than you. I went to Rosemary Hills Elementary. However, my father got a promotion and moved the family out of that neighborhood from a 1 1/2 bath house to a 3 bath house in an upper middle class neighborhood. Less Jewish, majority WASP, and the blacks were Huxtables. Very different from Rosemary Hills. I also think that you probably had a realization of differences in income levels as far back as elementary school. I know I did. The real impact of strictly racial disparities really hit me when I lived in Chicago for several years.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Rosemary Hills had Summit Hill and the black community off Brookeville in its catchment area. We had Glen Ross, Rollingwood Apartments and the second eight housing at Friendly Gardens. Yeah, it was a little corner of Montgomery County that actually had real income disparity and even pockets of poverty. But you know what? Having gone to Monkey Hills instead of Kensington or Leland, I always felt a little more at ease walking into a room where I was in a minority than some of the Chevy Chase and Bethesda kids, or at least it sometimes seemed that way. When I got to Baltimore, it didn’t seem implausible to be a white-boy reporter in a majority black city. Not that Baltimore was our little corner of Silver Spring, just that a certain amount of pluralism was, well, ordinary.

      Reply
      • Anna Tarkov says:

        It’s funny that you mention being comfortable even if you were the minority in the room. I too don’t mind standing out. But I think many other people feel differently.

        My mother-in-law, who is white, Polish and Catholic, once expressed discomfort going to a hospital that was in a black area to see her doctor. Basically she was usually the only white person in the waiting room. Now, she grew up poor, but I guess it was still a white, poor area. But I know for a fact that she doesn’t have one racist bone in her body. What she was expressing, I think, was simply that need to feel that you belong and many people feel ill at ease when they figure they stand out and everyone is looking at them.

        When she told me this, I thought about what she said and suddenly realized that this was a perfect “teachable moment.”

        Now you know how most black people feel in white society, I told her.

        A look of sudden understanding crossed her face.

        You’re right, I never thought of it that way, she said.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Yup. The force of will that some white folk bring to bear to never, ever go there in their minds — to be walking in Trayvon Martin’s shoes on a street and be followed, profiled and confronted as he was — that is not to be considered. Only the risk and threat to a grown-man, armed with a gun. That doesn’t make them racist. But it certainly doesn’t argue that the dynamic is anything other than racial.

          Reply
          • Laser Haas says:

            Okay, now I had to go do some research. I have some disdain for Wikipedia; but love the links (and the fact that they permanently archive items that are changed).

            As per “racial” profiling there are 2 definitions. One strict and one broad. Strict is the issue of “race” is the controlling factor. Broad is the issue that “race” is evident as the issue through empirical evidence.

            Here’s another way they coin the 2 – Racial
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_profiling and Offender http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offender_profiling Zim claims his motive was “offender”…

            There is evidence that GZ “could” have been profiling. Thus I concur with Mr. Simon’s conclusion that there’s also no evidence exculpatory of the dynamic.

            Reply
          • Anna Tarkov says:

            The lack of empathy overall is astounding when it comes to racial issues. I think it’s partly self-preservationist in terms of people’s self image. Everyone wants to believe that they’ve made it in life solely because of their own pluck and efforts. What no one wants to believe is that maybe the road was just a little bit (or a lot) easier for them than for the guy on the other side of town.

            There is, for example, a lot of racism in the Soviet immigrant community of which I am technically a member although I really consider myself American at this point. I have heard people say that they came here with nothing as immigrants and in the space of 5 or 10 years, they had a house, a job cars, vacations, etc. Meanwhile, they reason (if such a word can be applied to this line of thinking), black people were born here, grew up here and have been here all their lives and they still can’t get their shit together. People actually believe this and think it’s entirely logical. I confess, it once made sense to me as a sheltered, know-nothing kid in a nice suburb attending some of the best public schools in the state (because my parents’ American relatives had advised them to buy anything they could in a good school district).

            I’m not sure what made me see the light. Maybe it was attending a multi-cultural urban campus for college where there was a record number of kids who were the first in their families to go to college. Maybe it was becoming a journalist and learning to examine issues and events from every possible angle. But mostly I think I try very hard to keep an open mind and understand that MY reality may not be the same as that of other people. Sadly, it seems many only have room in their minds for one truth and anything that doesn’t fit must be wrong.

            Reply
            • Lakshman says:

              It is interesting you bring up the inherent racism in your community. I’m sure many first generation immigrants, because the generally tend to move in their own circles and rarely assimilate can relate. I have observed many such instances of overt racism in the Indian immigrant community, both in thought and speech but one from a few months ago is the most vivid because of chronology so I wanted to share it. We were invited to a New Years eve party at the brother in law of my wife’s close friend who was visiting from out of state (I live in TX). Since I was sitting on the couch my head buried in my phone and clearly bored out of my head a well intentioned late 30 something or early 40 something gentleman (henceforth referred to as WIG, short for well intentioned gentleman) joined me and started making small talk..

              WIG: “Hi, I’m so an so..”

              Me; “Hi, I am Lakshman, so and so’s husband who happens to be friends with so and so”

              WIG: “We are visiting from OH, and from what we have seen, we like TX”

              Me: “Yes, we like TX too. cost of living is affordable. Winters are mild..Summers get hot but we Indians are used to hot weather”..citing general reasons why I think Indians prefer Texas

              WIG: “That is true. We also like the people”

              Me: “Yes, people in the South are generally polite and nice”

              WIG: “Yeah and I also noticed there aren’t many black people here”

              Me: “Oh…”

              WIG: “And the white people are also very nice to us. They smile at us and are very polite”

              At this point, embarrassed for the well intentioned gentleman, looking frantically to make sure my 5 year old wasn’t within earshot, cringing I was trying to find a little hole in that couch where I wanted to shrink myself into so I can escape that torture.
              As I thought about that incident a few things stuck out to me. One that “people” in his view were his own kind and white people. As in people he considers to be like and superior to his own kind. That is not surprising because many Indians think that.
              Two that when he walked up to me and started making conversation, in his head he didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary to air his thoughts out so loud. He genuinely believed what he was saying because nobody ever corrected his line of thinking.
              He didnt understand why I just picked up my drink and walked away from that spot, and that may have been my biggest mistake. Not explaining to him why I reacted the way I did.

              Reply
        • katie says:

          I love this story. It just goes to show you how blind even well-intentioned people can be to their own bias. Step out of your insular bubble and look what happens. It’s ironic — we are all so much more connected — I’d never be chatting with you fine folks without the internet — but it seems like it is making some people more insular. Or maybe they’re just more vocal and feel more legitimate in expressing their bias. I don’t know, but I sure don’t think they should be armed.

          Thanks for that story, though. Made me smile. :)

          Reply
        • MG says:

          It’s interesting, perhaps I’m decieving myself but, as a black man I feel like I can quite easily put myself in a white person’s shoes, see the world from their point of view etc. After all, i live in ‘your’ world, i’ve been conditioned to have ‘white aspirations’ (to poorly quote Fanon). But do I feel that a white person could ever see the world the way I do? No. Not ever. I’m not sure why but I just can’t imagine how a white person could imagine how it feels to be loaded down with the peculiar pressures I feel. To know that any time I am out in public there is someone somewhere viewing me through that lens of ‘less than’. Please note I am not saying that all white people lack empathy. Not at all. But i ask myself, do they *really* know how it feels? Can they?

          It may be that this is my own particular hang-up and I am completely wrong. I wish someone could convince me!

          Reply
          • boot-cheese-3000 says:

            Doggie that’s the exact same hang-up anyone who’s not a W.A.S.P. in Amerikkkan society faces day by day. Alot of white Amerikkkans don’t want to relate to us because it’s way out of their radar nor do they feel as if they should because it’s not “their” problem, it’s “ours”. Then again this country is built on passing the buck and non-accountability so there you go. Even some poor white people have separatists views, just look at these damn militant groups bitching about how “they’re losing everything” and quick to overthrow the govt. over some dumb shit not even thinking that we’re ALL in the same boat.

            Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about:
            http://news.yahoo.com/police-vegas-plot-kill-officers-thwarted-081714555.html

            The only thing we can do is just strive for perfection and improving on ourselves. I could care less about trying to fit into the bogus rules this twisted society forces upon you daily.

            Reply
          • Laser Haas says:

            There are many times that Mr. Simon pens (or – rather – types) a style of writing that makes me envious (when I’m not aggravated at him otherwise).

            Your remarks above and here, strike me in similar fashion. Such as your para-phrase that;

            “After all, i live in ‘your’ world, i’ve been conditioned to have ‘white aspirations’

            AND that goes double for the balance of your paragraph!

            There are those of U.S. (Caucasians) who do get a sense of what you say you feel. It is not just a black thing – ONLY. There are many down trodden, wrong side of the track – non WASP’s out here; who tend to have the same “worries” as you do.

            As stated before, my experience as the only white male in a high school in NYC, a year or two after desegregation was “enforced”; grants me a different perspective on things.

            I enjoy meeting my ole buddies and hearing them say my “niggah” what’s happen man! At the same time I was also able to understand the dynamics exhibited in the film “Grand Canyon” (having – myself, once being stuck/broke down in South Central L.A. with my 3 piece suit and tie – being of enough common sense to run side streets from 63rd & Vermont to the Green Line as quickly as possible).

            Also understand Cosby’s position on the “N” word (that being the nuance MR. Simon speaks of – between “niggah” and “nigger”). You may try to enforce a double standard; but it is not prudent to do so.

            Looking over my shoulder – in this day/age of police brutality getting more public air – I remember the days when we were all concerned. How dark skin or not, we would duck in the subway to vanish when a patrol car looked as if it might turn around.

            Zimmerman and those that think what he did is okay, demonstrates that America still has a racial equality problem. This is one thing that Mr. Simon and I concur upon. That it is was a sad day for America, when the “process”ing of GZ resulted in a pathetic prosecution case – resulting in a getting off ‘Scot Free’ for a homicide.

            It diminishes humanity and human value deplorably!

            What I look forward to (not likely to transpire in our lifetime) – is the Morgan Freeman philosophy premise.

            The day when you will not consider me white and it will not even be upon my mind to say “black” or “African American” (which – by the way – insults Hondurans etc – as not even being worthy)

            that’s the day we will have progressed to a better place.

            Reply
  14. Laser the Liquidator says:

    Okay, there’s a Latest Breaking News report (purportedly NOT from The Onion) – that George Zimmerman is a Hero who rescued people from a “flaming” vehicle.

    The odds are dumbfounding – and the fact it (purportedly) happened a week ago without any mention is mind-boggling at best.

    Additionally, the GZ/ TM case evidences were turned over to the feds;
    and George’s parents claim they can’t return to their home.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/22/george-zimmerman-rescued-man-from-truck-crash-last-week-police-say/

    ANY THOUGHTS?

    As for me, if it is true that “death threats” have transpired – someone needs to be arrested and prosecuted post haste.

    Reply
    • Laser the Liquidator says:

      Along the line of similar “NEW” discussion material, the Feds have a key card they are not likely to play; but could turn this whole debacle on its head if (properly) investigated and applied.

      Hate Crime…….

      If prejudice was “any” part of the motivation of GZ;
      he would be toast.

      I;ve seen enough circumstantial to have reasonable cause for concern. As Trayvon’s parents (should they sue GZ in Civil Court) – need only provide evidence to “the preponderance of the evidence” standard.

      Manslaughter would fall under the next higher standard of
      “clear and convincing”

      The murder charge failed because it was impossible (given the evidence and the ability of the prosecution to do a decent job) – to reach the level of “beyond all reasonable doubt”.

      It will be months before we know and Clear Channel Communications will be putting forth many propaganda stories to the contrary; but the Feds could so do – if they so choose – a Hate Crime trial.

      One thing for sure – the Feds will not be any where near as sloppy as the local prosecution was….

      Reply
      • Will says:

        The state couldn’t even prove manslaughter, there would be no possible way to prove a hate crime was committed. Given that there are absolutely no witnesses and not one recorded incident of Zimmerman even whispering any racial epithets, how would one go about proving a hate crime took place? Because black men were responsible for many of the previous break-ins and Zimmerman, responding to the dispatcher’s interrogative, stated that Martin looked black? Al Sharpton’s (and most of the mainstream media’s) embellished claims are not really evidence of a hate crime.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Agree. The profiling is indicative of a racial bias that underlies the confrontation, but there is no evidence that Mr. Zimmerman is an overt racist or. more critically, in terms of the legal standard for a federal civil rights case, that he had intent of shooting Mr. Martin as a hate crime. This I do not believe and this I do not think can be proven. I don’t see the federal case getting off the ground.

          Reply
          • Laser Haas says:

            The standard for a criminal conviction of Hate Crimes varies from state to state. Typical hate crimes act requires proof by the government of the accused’s mens rea /scienter (guilt knowledge in one’s own mind). Elements of the offense consist of purpose, knowledge, recklessness, or criminal negligence.

            Most importantly Hate crimes statutes also require proof that the accused attacked his or her victim “because of ” or “by reason of” that person’s race, religion, or origin/nationality.

            Example 911 call “These f—- always get away”

            “Who’ are “these f—–“?!?!?!?!?

            Fed Rules of Evidence forbid “character” references, due to the prejudicial possibilities. Thus a guy who makes racial slurs about Asians always, cannot have such entered into evidence in an assault upon a Latino.

            Juries are compelled to rely on their subjective intuitions about the motivations behind an individual’s conduct.

            However, what I’m talking about is a “Civil” action – where Zimmerman would most likely being the one demanding a trial by judge and the Feds would be seeking a trial by jury.

            As in the OJ case, where he was found NG because Furman lied and the glove not fitting was enough of a “reasonable doubt”.

            Whereas, in the the civil trial by jury the much lower standard of the “preponderance of the evidence” permitted the jury to look at “scales” of justice resulting in the logic that the glove didn’t need to fit – for a civil conviction to have merits.

            Reply
            • David Simon says:

              The federal standard would apply in a federal case. This would be the jurisdiction of a U.S. District Court in Florida operating under the U.S. code. It is a criminal action only. And I really don’t think there is sufficient evidentiary logic to go forward.

              A civil action is just that, a civil action. It has nothing to do with federal prosecutors or the Department of Justice. It is something that Mr. Martin’s family could attempt seeking punitive and compensatory damages for a wrongful death.

              You have seemingly conflated the two. The federales would have nothing whatsoever to do with a civil action. They are in it to see only whether there is a civil rights violation under the U.S. criminal code. Failing that, they’re done.

              Reply
              • Laser Haas says:

                Conflated the 2 – moi!

                Eaannnttt – I don’t think so. If we are having a discussion, maybe it would be prudent to lay all our credentials on the table – so that nothing may be misconstrued.

                I’m a liquidator/turn around consultant compelled by circumstances to be a “pro se” against tyranny, cronyism and corruption. Though being a victim of Racketeering by one of the most powerful men in our country is (sometimes) treated by the public at large as also requiring a degree in journalism, PHD in English, an “attorney at law” degree and a BAR card and the ability to write better than Mark Twain – the fact of the matter remains – I’m none of those thingys. Did not even graduate HS and failed English.

                Be that as it may, I’ve become an ardent admirer of the Code & Rule of Law and a student of same at 57 years of age. The results of which has been that several law firms have closed, people were promoted off their judicial benches, DOJ personnel have resigned or been promoted and many a fraudster is hearing a clank every morning and nite – to their CELL of living (not their phones).

                Unless I missed something in your resume – such as CLE credits in Federal Civil Rights “Color of Law” causes of actions – then I must object to your contention that the Feds can only do a criminal charge that would fail.

                http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  The part of the code that you cite involves civil actions for discriminatory practices by the U.S. civil rights division of the Department of Justice. Those civil actions are for systemic unconstitutional violations. With regard to the shooting of one individual by another — absent an organizational or systemic issue of law — they do not bring civil actions against individuals. That is for the family of Trayvon Martin to consider, using its own resources.

                  The threshold for this case will be criminal or nothing for the federal government. Now then, the civil rights division could come to the conclusion that SYG laws constitute a systemic deprivation of the civil rights of a minority class and that they should be challenged on constitutional grounds. They could bring a civil action against the state of Florida and take that into the federal courts. Just as they can challenge discriminatory school segregation or the use of federal funds in a discriminatory way, or such. But a civil suit against an individual that the government acknowledges they don’t the evidence to indict? No. Way.

                  Reply
                  • Laser Haas says:

                    Semantics aside – BINGO – you’ve got it!

                    U.S. DOJ dot Gov can bring a Civil cause of action against the Unconstitutional (and bode not well for the good order of society) – SYG laws.

                    After all – this is what we seek – NO MORE DEAD anybody because SYG makes it too arduous for conviction.

                    KUDOs guy….
                    (you had me worried – WTG with the deeper dig for the rebuttal)

                    Reply
    • GEAH says:

      “9. The systemic response to the death of an unarmed 17-year-old boy, profiled and shot to death.”

      A decent person would be ashamed that many Americans wanted to lynch a white Hispanic that was found guilty of no crimes…but that’s just me.

      Reply
      • David Simon says:

        To my understanding of my remarks and your reply, you are the only one speaking of lynching anyone. That is your ridiculous hyperbole. And the fact that Mr. Zimmerman was found not guilty of no crimes is the problem, not the mitigation for our justice system.

        Reply
  15. Gordie says:

    David –

    All this talk of not knowing what it’s like to be black in America, what a terrible cycle they’re born into, how it is all big business and capital that have devalued citizens and destroyed the labor and middle class in America. I don’t disagree with these points.

    But what about personal responsibility and accountability? Pride? What roles do they play? My great grandfather was extremely poor and immigrated to the United States to create a better life for himself. Little to no education. Worked low-paying jobs for many years and fought as hard as he could to get out of it and provide what he could for his family. He never developed a drug problem. He never took a dime from anyone. He was never arrested. He didn’t knock up 4 different women and have 12 kids running around that he couldn’t afford in the first place. He took care of the little property he owned. He accepted his responsibilities. To what extent does being dealt a shitty hand in life discharge humans of their basic responsibilities? Can we now not judge each individual person by the choices they make, simply because they had a different starting point than us?

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Congratuations, Mr. Gordie, you just stereotyped the black underclass in America, of which Trayvon Martin was not a member. Yes there are pathologies to being poor and black in America, and yes indeed everyone is responsible for their decision-making. Citing one and denying the other would be foolish for me as it is for you. The trick is to follow Fitzgerald’s dictums and hold both ideas in your mind at the same time, even though they may be seemingly contradictory to you. In fact, both are true and non-contradictory.

      First, you might look up some data on the black experience in America before you continue to generalize in racial terms about African-Americans. Actually the last few generations — the first in which overt legal, institutional racism has not been undertaken against that community, as it was not undertaken for your great grandfather or my grandparents who immigrated willingly to this country — has witnessed the extraordinary creation of a vibrant black middle class that stands in direct opposition to your stereotypes. Mr. Martin was not actually a part of the underclass in America, though you have apparently tarred him with such based purely on race. He does not actually fit your measurements of thug, indifferent father of twelve, who didn’t accept life’s responsibilities. He had the misfortune of being a black teenager in a hoodie when a frustrated George Zimmerman emerged from his house with a gun, looking to punish nameless punks for crimes in his neighborhood.

      But leaving the irrelevance of your complaint about the black underclass aside with regard to Mr. Martin, if you want to believe that my position on poverty and its effects and personal responsibility isn’t nuanced or inclusive, I’d urge you to go to the library and check out “The Corner: A Year In The Life Of An Inner-City Neighborhood,” published in 1997 by Broadway Books. In it you will find systemic arguments against much or our urban policy, but the drug war especially. You will find a construct by which young men are being raised not for an America other than your own, and for whom our economic structure has no viable use. That said, you will also find critiques of personal faithlessness and failure on the part of some individuals, and heroic resistance to marginalization by others. It is a book about people living in a specific corner of our country and it is human in scale, not a function of preconceived stereotype. But again, it acknowledges both the systemic and the personal in the equation.

      You seem to only want to live on one side of the equation. That’s fine, but it’s incomplete and not intellectually honest. Both things can be — and are — true. And neither obviates the other. There are systemic realities that come with being poor and minority in America — of which racial profiling and stereotyping is one — and they are demonstrable and profound. And there is also an essential component of personal responsibility that is necessary, but not guaranteed, to allow individuals escape those realities.

      Can you acknowledge both? If not, I would also recommend the entry on this blog entitled, “The banality of ideology.”

      Reply
      • Laser the Liquidator says:

        Inner city plights are what they are. A father from another country, being hard pressed in America is also a common story. However, the difference is, the person borne elsewhere does not have the same “sense of things” as one borne/raised here.

        If you are a minority youth in Baltimore, Pollack Johnnies is not rushing to hire you (I miss that place). Nor Captain D’s – either Wendy’s and the local Pizza (mom & pop) owned.

        You are subjected to a system that says it has your best interest at heart and all is equal; but your intelligence tells you otherwise as your read between the lines (and the B.S.).

        It is that same intelligence that takes the path of least resistance into a drug – or other culture. For, if gangs are the way in your hood; just saying no is not that simple an option (that B Bush could never F—-n understand).

        You apply your marketing strategies in handling competition, protecting your territory, advancing through the ranks upon your production/ expertise value.

        Because (unless G-d has a secret bible/book of rules out there stipulating that we all are spirits 1st – who get to “choose” who/what we are borne into upon the earth) – then you did NOT choose to be borne of urban plight, in a WASP ruled society.

        You take the extraordinary risks; because of its exceptional gains. And/or you get caught up in the ways of life around you that were long established before your arrival.

        As I said previously, of this I’m aware, having been borne on the wrong side of the tracks and always seeing people look down upon me (where my mother married a 17 year old when I was 12 and did not see my father from the time I was 8 – until I was 18 and went and found him). Everything around me raised me to be an opportunist of the worst kind; and I almost bit the farm by carrying a chip & gun – shooting at some.

        Then, one day, I said no. Finding out that the trophy picture I carried of my father stopping a robbery in NY was (more likely than not) simply because he was the driver for the real G-d father of NYC and the robbery wasn’t sanctioned.

        Being offered a chance to get into organized crime, a place where you are rewarded up the ranks for your ability to earn, provide and be loyal; I said NO (because of the potential harm to innocents in carrying out an order). I made the choice to turn it around, walk the life built by a valued society, based upon the Code & Rule of Law and a sense of justice.

        Only to learn that I’m a fool and society’s system of justice is one of the largest organized crime syndicates upon the earth. (I personally am battling a man who ran for POTUS).

        We are all serving the oppressors – except when we unite to stop permitting certain reaches of their oppression from being overbearing upon U.S.

        Correctly the SYG and this pathetic result is our chance;
        simply due to the fact that oppressors wish and we wish not.

        If you grew up, Gordie, in urbane plight, then you have earned the right to ask the stereotypical questions.

        Otherwise, it is haughtier and apathy from whence you speak!

        Reply
    • Lakshman says:

      Seriously? You came to this forum with that? This your first time here?

      Reply
    • katie says:

      More on the systemic side of the equation today. From the New York Times — WHERE you are poor affects your mobility.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/business/in-climbing-income-ladder-location-matters.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=1&

      Reply
  16. John says:

    2) Disagree that there isn’t evidence to suggest race. When as black youth is jacked up by a vigilante who has just gotten off the phone complain about punks who always get away with it, there are distinct racial implications. This young man was profiled and without legitimate P.C. to do so.

    I’m sorry but as you said, no one knows what happen so you can guess at what happened all you want and if you want Trayvon to be the one who was jumped, beat up and shot just because he was black to support your cause, that’s on you but it isn’t helping anyone. There is no evidence to support that.

    4)Bring up black-and-black crime because YOU CARE about black-on-black crime, and show that it is a concern of yours regardless. DO NOT bring it up as a means of limiting discussion about this tragedy. Because that is intellectually dishonest.

    I care more about the many, many people killed every day and that will continue to be killed every day then one case that may or may not have been in self defense.

    What I hear is this one case is more important to everyone because it was a white guy shooting a black guy. But all the black kids being shot everyday isn’t as important to have this in depth conversation.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Let’s go with the systemic. Polling data indicate that 1 out of 3 young African-American males say they have been profiled/confronted/harassed by law enforcement within the past month. The number for young white males: 1 in 19. You can pretend that racial profiling and routine violations of the Fourth Amendment aren’t endemic to our society — and you can cling to the idea that just because Mr. Zimmerman said “punk” and not “nigger” before he went out on the street and confronted Trayvon Martin with a gun — that there isn’t a racial dynamic in play here. But black America knows different, and hell, even the law enforcement community knows different. Hell, in New York it’s actually been institutionalized as stop-and-frisk. You however are doing quite well with your head in the sand. No way does this happen if Trayvon Martin is white, and if the roles were reversed, if Trayvon Martin pulls a gun and says he shot George Zimmerman because he was affronted on the street by a grown man and was terrified at the confrontation/assault, he goes to prison for the rest of his life. Sorry. Not buying.

      Really, John? You’re passionate about black-on-black crime? Can you direct me to other postings on the internet prior to Martin-Zimmerman in which you’ve engaged in dialectic about how to interrupt the cycle of violence in the inner city? I’d love to read those. Send me the cites. Because you’re talking to someone who has spent more than two decades addressing himself to inner-city crime, poverty, the drug and gang culture and law enforcement issues in newsprint, books and film. And somehow, despite all of that, I’m still able to also address myself to this tragedy without using one to dismiss the other.

      Reply
      • John says:

        “and you can cling to the idea that just because Mr. Zimmerman said “punk” and not “nigger” before he went out on the street and confronted Trayvon Martin with a gun — that there isn’t a racial dynamic in play her”

        I will cling to that, “punk” is not the same as “nigger”. I’ll also cling to stories that have Zimmerman mentoring black children and confronting local police of the beating of a black homeless man. Am I supposed to believe that this is all fake and the only truth is the truth you say? Even though nobody for sure knows. I don’t think he Zimmerman had a problem with black people. He had a problem with punks, and I think he was wrong to confront Trayvon even if he was a criminal. Also, are you saying that it was witnessed that Zimmerman confronted Trayvon with the gun already out? I don’t think that is the case.

        “No way does this happen if Trayvon Martin is white, and if the roles were reversed”
        What about Christopher Cervini?

        “Can you direct me to other postings on the internet prior to Martin-Zimmerman in which you’ve engaged in dialectic about how to interrupt the cycle of violence in the inner city”
        Can you direct me to sites that are talking about it? I posted some stuff to the Chicago Tribune once but I would love to talk more about that.

        ” Because you’re talking to someone who has spent more than two decades addressing himself to inner-city crime, poverty, the drug and gang culture and law ”
        I would like to read more about this. Do you have some recent articles/posts?

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          1) Yes, most of us have learned to avoid the overt racist language of generations past. What we have not learned is to discern between unarmed teenagers and criminals; not when they foster a first impression that by dint of wearing a hooded sweatshirt, they are thugs from the darkest corners of the inner city. I don’t think Mr. Zimmerman was an overt racist, or that he isn’t comfortable with African-Americans in certain settings. But the dynamic by which that minor was profiled, confronted and killed contains a fundamental racial element that all African-Americans and many white Americans recognize.

          2) Yes, what about Scott-Cervini. Tellingly, Scott was charged with manslaughter right away by New York authorities. Furthermore, he was tried under standard self-defense statutes rather than SYG, meaning his jury had instructions that they needed to believe that the youth’s charge of Scott posed the potential for serious or lethal injury. Of course, also in that case it was acknowledged that Cervini was actuall engaged in a crime on-view, and that Scott openly displayed the weapon, warned the youths and told them to remain where they were while he attempted to call police.

          And for all of that which differs from this botched Florida fiasco, yes, I would have voted to convict Scott of manslaughter if I were on that jury. But there at least we can say that from the earliest moments of the law enforcement response, they attempted to assert for human life and they brought the case to a jury with a legal framework that isn’t rigged toward legitimizing and encouraging killing. What a jury will do a jury will do, and if the case in Florida had been functional, and prosecuted under a plausible self-defense statute rather than the barbarism of SYG, I would certainly be more sanguine with the result than I am.

          3) I just googled black-on-black violence and urban drug culture and came up with innumberable articles, commentaries and discussions, ranging from websites of civil rights organizations, major media outlets all the way through to hate-group sounding boards. No problem addressing your concerns should you wish to do so without using those concerns to prevent or inhibit a discussion about what happened in Sanford, Florida.

          4) Start with “The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood,” 1997, Broadway Books, Simon & Burns. That’s a five-year narrative non-fiction account of the West Baltimore neighborhood of Franklin Square. A miniseries on HBO in 2000 was based on the book, as was “The Wire,” as a fictional narrative dealing with some of the same fundamentals.

          Reply
          • John says:

            I’ve read lots of articles. I just meant more like this where there is a public forum with a lot of people contributing. You’re blog draws a lot of attention.

            I have watched the wire. It’s actually one of my favorite shows. I have not read The Corner yet though.

            Reply
            • Erika Jahneke says:

              I changed my mind about a lot of things after I read The Corner. I had not thought of myself as a prejudiced person, but I did have to face that a lot of the things “everybody knows” about drugs, say, or teenaged pregnancy are either crap, or at the very least, not the full story.

              Reply
          • Will says:

            1.Still with the racism? Martin was “profiled” by Zimmerman because he was walking in the rain, allegedly looking into windows. Even if he wasn’t looking into windows, he was still not an individual Zimmerman knew to live in the neighborhood (remember Martin’s dad’s girlfriend lived there), and considering the previous rash of break-ins, he felt it was necessary to make sure the person was not up to something. We do not know if he approached Martin aggressively or he truly was looking for the street sign and Martin approached him at that point. Your belief that there were racial motives has no proof whatsoever.
            2.And how do you know what would have happened if Martin had shot Zimmerman? If Martin had a bloody, possibly broken nose with other lacerations and Zimmerman had bruised/bloody knuckles from punching him and they had a witness stating that they saw Zimmerman on top of Martin, I’m not sure what would have transpired. Sanford is not exactly New York.
            3.There was no reason to determine whether or not Martin was armed. Burglary and/or prowling does not require a weapon, which is what Zimmerman was worried about. According to him, he did not brandish his weapon, nor fear that Martin was armed. He purportedly shot him during a struggle (or whoop-a__ as Ms. Jeantel would put it). How was Zimmerman supposed to distinguish between a regular fight in which he was bested and a life threatening beating? Emphasis is always placed on unarmed minor, but in the rain, while being assaulted, could most people say for certain that they could tell Martin was a minor or they would not have fear of major bodily harm/death?

            All that said, I disagree completely with SYG laws. That is why I was glad to see Zimmerman did not go that route for his defense, even though unfortunately the judge ultimately included it in her instructions. As far as the Scott case, it is appalling that he was not convicted. He exited his home with his weapon drawn, against 3 unarmed teens that were stealing from unlocked cars. Stealing items of small value should not see someone facing down the barrel of a gun from anyone without a badge. It has some similarities with the Zimmerman case, but he was arrested because he was unharmed and there were witnesses (credible or not) that said Christopher did not charge him. This, along with the fact that NY has no SYG laws to use as a crutch, makes it even more surprising that he was not convicted.

            Reply
            • David Simon says:

              Dear Will,

              Walking in a residential neighborhood — even in the rain! — and actually looking at residences is not P.C. And you are allowed to walk in a fucking neighborhood without introducing yourself to George Zimmerman. I have walked in the rain as a teenager many a night. And in the rain, I put up my hoody. And I was not known to all who saw me. And in my life I was never approached and asked to state my business. Recent pool: How many young black males have been stopped/detained/harrased by authorities in the past month alone. One in three. How many young white males self-report same: One in nineteen.

              1) Yes, still with race. Mr. Zimmerman need not be a racist — in fact I have said I don’t think this is the case — to have fallen prey to racial stereotyping. And as he is not actually a cop, but an untrained and emotional wannabe as indicated from his call to the dispatcher, his ability to discern actual probable cause from his own entitled sense of what a thug looks like has a racial component. Only a white guy, entitled and oblivious, would seriously be arguing that there isn’t a double standard for walking or driving while black in America. If you know anyone who is African-American, especially a young black male, why don’t you sit down and have an honest talk with that person about what life is like for the other half. Because you have no fucking clue. Really.

              And the absence of Mr. Zimmerman screaming “nigger,” or having racist literature in his back pocket is not an intellectually honest person’s opportunity to claim that there is no proof that there is a racial compoenent to what happened to Trayvon Martin. We are generations into the civil rights movement now in this country. We have learned to code our racial stereotypes, to avoid the most egregious and overt displays of racial fear and loathing. But if you think a white teenager in a hoody is suspectible to the same level of attention, you are arguing with blinders on, ignoring the systemic and praying to god that no one makes you abandon your self-enforced myopias and look at a big picture for even half a moment.

              2) If Mr. Martin had carried a gun to that altercation and shot an unarmed Mr. Zimmerman, and Mr. Zimmerman had one singular scratch on a knuckle and Mr. Martin had minor injuries consistent with one singular blow and an abrasion to the back of the head from a single fall, and Mr. Martin was seen to be losing the fight when he killed his assailant, here is the scenario that would be brought into court: Mr. Zimmerman approached a black youth in his neighborhood who was clearly up to no good, else why would he have a gun! He asked some questions and because the black youth was up to no good a fight ensued, and indeed perhaps Mr. Martin produced the gun. Mr. Zimmerman fought for his life and lost. Murder, first-degree. Stop bullshitting with nonsense theoreticals; they aren’t helping you. Tellingly, the state asked if the jury could be allowed in jury instructions to consider SYG in the converse, if the jury believed that Mr. Zimmerman began the physical confrontation that they could consider that Mr. Martin was then standing his ground with his fists. No, they were denied that motion. This is notable in light of your pretend scenario.

              3) Mr. Zimmerman didn’t go SYG not because of some noble desire to forfeit this advantage. He went that way because a) He didn’t want to risk a trial by judge. He wanted a jury. And b) He knew he was going to get SYG as the standard in the case anyway at the point of jury instruction.

              Reply
              • John says:

                “How many young black males have been stopped/detained/harrased by authorities in the past month alone”
                Young black males also commit the most crime unless I’m reading these stats wrong. I used to work in the jail and blacks were definitely the majority where I worked. Do the black people living in nicer areas get harassed like that or just black youths that live in areas where they’re most likely to commit a crime?

                “And you are allowed to walk in a fucking neighborhood without introducing yourself to George Zimmerman”
                It sounds like you’re ignoring the background of the case. There were already attempted robberies in the area so he was suspicious. Would he have been suspicious if they didn’t have the attempted robberies? I don’t know for sure but I read that 20% of the population was black so I would doubt that just seeing a black kid would make him call the police.

                I have plenty of black people around my area and I see them walking around. Some look respectable, others look like they’re in a gang or something. I’m not calling the cops on them all. If I had attempted robberies in my area and then saw some kid just wandering around, I’d start to wonder.

                I don’t think it was wrong for Zimmerman to be suspicious, it was wrong that he tried to detain Martin without the police. I do agree on that point.

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  Yes, well and white people are far more likely to be serial killers, but you don’t see law enforcement asking all the single white males who drive down the road in an area where a woman is attacked to jerk off in a cup for a comprehensive DNA data base. What part of the Fourth Amendment don’t you understand John? We are all Americans. Some of us don’t give up our rights because you think their race might be that much plausible as criminals.

                  All of us don’t care if someone out of the corner of their eye sees a young black kid and sees more of a threat than a white kid. That part is indeed acculturated and inevitable on the part of whites, and even some blacks — albeit blacks would be able to discern a lot more easily between teenager and thug (Skittles and cellphone a clue, people; thug prepping an armed robbery or B&E usually doesn’t equip with candy and gab with the girlfriend). Nonetheless, we can endure that much racial stigmatization without collapsing into farce and tragedy. It’s in all that Mr. Zimmerman does after his first impression that leads to this death.

                  Reply
                  • John says:

                    I don’t “think” their race is more plausible. At this time, it is more plausible.

                    Also, I can’t be sure on this but I don’t think the amount of serial killers to the average street thug is a good comparison at all. I would assume it is a lot more common to have one over the other.

                    Also, if I was a cop and saw a white dude driving slowly down a road where there were already a few attempts to attack women, I would pull them over.

                    Reply
                    • David Simon says:

                      I hope you would have a reason to pull them over. Broken tail light, improper lane change. And then, as you were stroking them a ticket, I hope that you managed to find some P.C. to detain them further. Or, since you have such definitive ideas about police work and how our constitution works, you could just do what Mr. Zimmerman did and jack up people because of how you think they look.

                      One is legal. The other is unconstitutional and an affront to civil liberties.

                      Police work is only easy in a police state. A good cop understands this. Mr. Zimmerman did not. And I’m not sure about you, John. You seem to think race is perogative enough, and you are wrong. All that has been said about why Mr. Zimmerman had interest in Mr. Martin is insufficient for probable cause. You want it to be one way, but it is the other way under the law.

                  • Will says:

                    I definitely don’t think Martin’s race in this case was PC for any kind of detainment. At no point do we have any kind of evidence, testimony, or recordings showing that Zimmerman attempted to stop or detain Martin, or do you have information not presented in the courtroom? Being followed is frightening, but to our knowledge Zimmerman didn’t get out of his car and try to grab Martin or point his gun at him. The fact is that neither one of us know the details. Since we do not, you cannot shape this case to fit your case against racial prejudice in this country. I am not blind, and I do know that in many areas in the US, profiling is a huge problem. My point is that you cannot make this case about that when there is no support for your theory. Did Zimmerman report that he saw a bag of skittles in his hand? And you keep reiterating the prosecutions version that there was only one blow, which is only one possibility. The same ME that testified to that, also stated that it could have been more. That ME was also recommended to the governor by the lead prosecutor in this case and has been mired in controversy in the past. The defense used a highly regarded professional as their witness. Still, I profess to not knowing exactly what happened nor if there were any motives or prejudices involved. You claim to know that there was, since every situation fits your previous experiences.

                    It’s funny that you mention how I must be an entitled white guy, and that I should sit down with a young black male to see what it is like for him. I grew up in a community that is nearly 50/50 white and black. The police department and nearly every other aspect of the community reflected this pattern as well. Teenagers walking around at night, whether rain or shine would have been watched and possibly asked a question or two, as happened to my friends and I on several occasions. It’s funny that on those occasions I did not feel the need to escalate the confrontation into a physical one, nor did my friends. My best friend growing up across the street from me was black, as were many of my friends and neighbors. I was actually stopped while walking through a predominately black neighborhood by an officer who happened to be black because a house nearby was under surveillance. And before you consider that surveillance racially motivated, two white guys I went to school with had their house under surveillance and eventually raided as well. My sister was engaged to a black man, my first boss was black, we had a black principal, and just as many black city council members as white. There was a small group of racist white people and a small group of racist black people, but for the most part everyone was colorblind. This was in rural Georgia, not where most would see a tolerant community being located. In my hometown, ANY teenager would be at least watched with a wary eye if they were meandering in the rain.
                    I am definitely not an entitled, oblivious white guy as I am the first in my family to graduate college, with tuition paid for by loans not by trust fund. My dad worked two jobs after retiring from enlisted military and he paid $350 dollars a month to rent the shoddy house I grew up in. You should not assume the race and social status of a person because they do not assume cases involving a black victim and and a shooter that is partially white has everything to do with race. I did not state that profiling and racial stereotyping (such as calling someone an entitled white guy based on his opinions) are not a problem this country faces as a whole, I merely pointed out that they are not indicated in this particular case, but were used as propaganda and invoked by those who wanted this to be an example of the larger problem in the country as a whole. You and others made this about race because of your past experiences and your disbelief that any segment of America does not behave the same way.

                    Reply
                    • David Simon says:

                      No, Will, we didn’t make it about race. There is a racial component to the manner in which young black males are perceived and addressed on the street in America. When well over 95 percent of black males — regardless of socioeconomic strata or geography — affirm this in poll after poll, it is probably time to open your ears and your mind.

                    • Will says:

                      David,
                      Not to argue about specifics, but in these “polls” you mention, earlier you stated 1 in 3 black males and now it is 95%. Are the two numbers figures from different polls? If you read many of my posts, I am not denying that profiling and stereotyping is a major issue in this nation. I only took issue with the way race was sensationalized in this case, including your earlier Trayvon piece in which you greatly exaggerated the role of race in this tragic event.
                      I also take issue with throwing around vague poll numbers as if they have scientific rigor to support them. If you poll politicians in DC and ask if they feel that they are doing a good job, I’m pretty sure the numbers would be alot higher than warranted. Regardless of what the numbers actually are, it is still an issue that deserves more attention than it gets at times. I just don’t think enough was known to use this as a shining example of that problem.

                      On a side note, I do enjoy how profiling and stereotyping you critiqued others about (and justly so) somehow is ok for you to use against my “entitled” white behind.

                    • David Simon says:

                      One poll – 1 in 3 young black males said they were personally detained/questioned/harassed by law enforcement within the last month. 1 in 19 for young white males.

                      Other polls indicate that well over 90 percent of African Americans believe that racial profiling occurs routinely in American life.

                      Those two are scarcely exclusive of each other.

                      If you were white and standing on the street corner, Will, I’d have no cause to believe you felt particularly entitled about anything with regard to your race. As you’ve come here and expressed your opinions, and argued for the points you have in the manner that you have, yes, I believe that your arguments constitute a certain myopic sense of the world that does not incorporate the point-of-view of others in your national culture. In the first case, I have no cause to suggest such merely because you are white. That would be profiling, indeed. I have every reason to suggest such on the basis of your actual, overt arguments, however.

            • Laser Haas says:

              I OBJECT your Honor – to the presumption of facts not in evidence by Will. It is also misleading.

              Will is embellishing. There’s no testimony that Trayvon Martin was looking into windows.

              Nor is there any evidence in the record that George Zimmerman is an expert on everyone who lived in the neighborhood
              (for if GZ had been such an expert, then he would have likely known about Trayvon’s relatives living there).

              A young “non-Caucasian” man with a hoody was walking past the “Gate house” (actual 911 call) and GZ said Trayvon was “looking about”. As is immortalized in the transcript of the call per exhibit —-

              http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

              Reply
              • Will says:

                I stand corrected that he was not looking into windows, though I did say allegedly and also say that it didn’t matter if he was or not. I should have stated looking at houses. As far as embellishing, I can only say in the words of children everywhere “He started it!”(David Simon)

                Reply
            • Laser the Liquidator says:

              Moving the conversation back over to the left (in dual pun a bonus) – I must admit I chuckled at the “he started it” reflection.

              However, it was GZ who started it – and I have to concur with Mr. Simon – you need to unlock your mindset from its bias tilts.

              As the only Caucasian male with non-white males (as we traveled around in a White Men Can’t Jump fashion betting on our worth in street hoops games) – when we broached certain neighborhoods (residential districts) – it was “prudent” for us to stop the car and put my white male face in the drivers seat.

              Why Will Smith’s remarks in MIB 1 worked so well on the issues of DWB (driving while black) – is that it IS TRUE…

              In Athens GA, back when we rode around with Hershel Walker (before Trump flew him on a plane and changed history) – even the popular Mr. Walker knew white males in the driver’s seat were a guarantee of less chance of being shot at in the dark of night (before the cops realized whom it might be they would be shooting at).

              A good friend of mine surprised me yesterday – and we are not talking today – because he is Latino and thinks that blacks get all the breaks (and also put Latinos below blacks on the social ladder) – because he was the runt of the litter and picked upon by “that” gang when he went to school with them

              60 years ago…..

              Race and Class consciousness will suck/bite the Whammy on Judgment Day and the opening of the Book of Life of historical facts unequivocal..

              I’m just sayin…….

              Reply
              • Will says:

                I totally agree that blacks experience a different America than most whites. I also do not argue that Zimmerman started the chain of events that ended in him taking the life of Martin. What I don’t pretend to know is that racial bias was involved in this case nor the exact events that led to the shot. I don’t know how we can expect Zimmerman to know the intent of someone assaulting him and whether or not that assault crossed the line of misdemeanor into felony assault while it was taking place. In all honesty, I don’t know if an assault beyond the one punch took place (though the one witness seems to suggest so). I do know that given their instructions, FL law, and the cases presented to them that the jury made the only decision they could. I don’t wish to clear Zimmerman of all wrong-doing and I believe that all SYG laws should be done away with. I also desperately hope that our country can one day be colorblind.

                The only reason I even posted on this blog was to refute the claims that race absolutely played a part in this case. The neighborhood was 50/50 white/minority, young males were reportedly burglarizing and vandalizing properties in that neighborhood, Zimmerman grew up in a mixed-race house, went to and from school and ate dinner with black children his grandmother cared for growing up, helped fellow neighbors regardless of color, etc. I don’t see how what is known about this tragedy insinuates racism, unless those on the outside apply their experiences to what happened. My point is that while racism is a huge problem in America (from all sides, though it effects certain races more than others), that concept cannot be applied in every town and in every situation when more than one race is involved. I knew the racial aspect of this case was going to be overplayed and sensationalized/embellished when the media referred to Zimmerman as a white-hispanic. They typically refer to someone as one race and certainly don’t describe Obama as white-black or the Rock as black-Samoan. I don’t feel like my views are myopic when I am only expressing them about this singular incident, in which race could or couldn’t have played a role. I object only to it’s exaggerated and matter-of-fact use concerning this incident, not our country as a whole. Pleas explain how that is myopic on my part. Myopic views work both ways, say for instance stating that since our country has a problem with racism, and the teenager walking home was black, it must be racially motivated.

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  I undertand that you are asserting that we cannot know beyond doubt that Mr. Zimmerman did not think of the fact that Trayvon Martin was black before engaging him. This is true. Perhaps Mr. Zimmerman made his approach on this youth omitting that fact from his equation. But of course the question in terms of manslaughter doesn’t hinge on that. There is no reasonable doubt that he did approach him, that he had a gun, and that he ended up killing an unarmed minor when there is no corroborating evidence of a potentially lethal assault by Mr. Martin. Ergo, if we are arguing the facts of the specific case, we are, in my opinion, within the legal terrain of manslaughter.

                  Systemically — and not as a matter of beyond all reasonable doubt — I think it is quite reasonable to assume that race did factor into Mr. Zimmerman’s decision to approach this youth. For one thing, there were elements that mitigated AGAINST this particular youth being involved in ongoing criminality (cell phone conversation, Skittles, walking in plain view) and there was insufficient probable cause to conclude otherwise. A trained police officer would have assessed Trayvon Martin and moved on to better probabilities. This is not to say that Mr. Zimmerman is a racist, only that he was susceptible to the racial stereotyping that is endemic to much of the population — that is indeed in evidence on this website, post after post. Certainly, if Mr. Zimmerman managed to not factor in Travyon Martin’s race in way to his overall calculations — and again, I think that based on the presentation of the kid he was actually seeing, he did do so — it is also fair to note that this would be out of the ordinary for many Americans. As evidence we can cite the ubiquity of racial profiling in the experience of young black males, the fact that racial profiling has actually required legal sanction against it under Fourth Amendment appeals, and nonetheless still has institutional approval in many places (stop-and-frisk in NY, for example). Racial profiling is not something on that fringe of the American experience that Mr. Zimmerman would be reaching for; it is omnipresent in our day-to-day. And the profiling is not about youth, or hoodies, or other factors. It is about race. The differential in reported detentions between black and white youth makes this entirely evident.

                  So what are you saying? That unless we are in George Zimmerman’s mind we can’t possibly know for sure that race didn’t play a part in his overall equation? Granted. So stipulated. He committed manslaughter, nonetheless, and he did so in a manner that is indicative of the ubiquitous dynamic of racial profiling in America, which we need to address systemically, regardless. How is that?

                  Reply
                • Laser Haas says:

                  This particular comment of yours, its candor, is award winning compared v the ones heretofore.

                  My issue with you (and I adore this type of soft, open discussion) – on the previous comments – is your remarks of facts not in evidence. (i.e. you remarked “he started it” – inference TM)

                  To your current comment here, I commend you. As for as the remark that you are the only one – hence myopic is wrong judgement; again – I’d say ‘Eaannnnttt” – t’ain’t so…

                  We all have opinions and butt holes. My time on this 3rd rock is likely to be shorter than the rest here; because I’m pressing my luck against people who play mean (and have access to their own Mercenary Army). Before I go, my desire is to do what I can, to make things better – and I realize that such means I must be a better person.

                  NOT A LIKEABLE ONE!

                  We, even the great David Simon, can be errant in our frame of mind and/or positions.

                  Willingness to look at “if” you are wrong I’ve come to learn is one of the most intelligent and noble traits of character that one may have.

                  Because you eat liver and onions – while I can’t even stand the smell of it – doesn’t make either one of us wrong.

                  Finally, Mr. Simon’s response to your comment here is one his best as well.

                  I would suggest that we all consider our words more carefully (as emotions run high on this nationally significant/important subject).

                  Mr. Simon also is correct in his contention that Trayvon is (more likely than not) DEAD – because he was presumed guilty because of race. And you (once again) have embellished in the remark that we are contending “it must be racially motivated”.

                  We are talking the possibility/ likelihood and your taking issue with that with incongruous banter in support.

                  I’m going to respond to Mr. Simon’s comment (so that this one doesn’t become the record holder for length)

                  Please – C O N S I D E R – whether or not – your various contentions are conjecture/hyperbole? Then we can take this wonderful series of discussion to the next level. (Which, I believe – is the very quest of Mr. Simon’s).

                  Reply
                • Anna Tarkov says:

                  Will, I think what you have to understand is that a person can be around people of color, maybe even be friendly with them, be neighbors with them, etc and still be a racist. Having a black neighbor or coworker or even drinking buddy is not a “get out of racism” free card. As another poster on here named Monica has explained, a person could be a racist even if they have a number of friends who are black or Hispanic or whatnot. They will consider these people the exceptions to the rest of their racial group. They will think well, Mike is ok., but he’s not like the rest of those black people.

                  George Zimmerman might be racist in his heart or maybe he isn’t. We can never know for certain, that’s true. But what IS important is whether, in that moment, on that rainy night, his actions were racially motivated or not. I submit to you that in many situations, people’s racist tendencies have a way of coming out even if they are not habitually racist in other areas of their lives. It happens to most of us at some point. As a white woman walking alone, have I ever gotten a little nervous as a black man walked towards me? Yes, I have, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Am I a racist? No. But in that moment, as that man approaches me on the sidewalk, is my fear racially motivated? Yes, it is.

                  There is no blood test that shows whether someone is racist or not. It’s usually not an either/or scenario. Knowing that, I fail to understand why people argue so vociferously that Zimmerman’s actions weren’t racially motivated. Why are you so invested in arguing for that? I’m not saying this ia true for you, but I think some people argue it because what they don’t want to acknowledge deep in their hearts is that they would have done the same as Zimmerman if they were out there that night with a gun. And then they would be guilty of killing an unarmed teen. They can’t reconcile that so they have to believe that there MUST have been some other reason Zimmerman approached Trayvon. If not, it means affirming something ugly inside of themselves and no one wants to do that.

                  Reply
              • Laser Haas says:

                This is Responding to Mr. Simon July 25 9:18 am – moving the subject to the left (damn the pun is so neat)

                That is a continue of Will’s comment at 7:53 am
                xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

                In my comment on July 23 at 12:59 pm – provided were several – Very important – links; and a remark that there are 3 noteworthy items therein telltale.

                1st off – Why I’m here, is because Mr. Simon and I walk different pathways of the “special” realm. He is extremely well accomplished/famous – and my 15 minutes to be – has been building for quite some time.

                Mr. Simon is violating the Hollywood unwritten rule of having regular discussions with U.S. wee liddle people (as familiarity does breed contempt). It is a very sound wisdom for the goal of advancing (and maintaining the advance) – in Hollywood.

                What Mr. Simon has said – and is doing – is that those “rules”/ ways of doing are secondary to the nationally significant issue at hand.

                For such – he has great admiration from me – and we need MANY more like him.

                Everyone tells me, in my battle versus Romney and his power – that you should do this, do that, people will respect you more.

                Mr. Simon said to my suggestion of Simon Says

                FUCK quaint

                and that’s the same retort I have to those who suggest this – that – or the other.

                If I did abide by their “wishes” we might have a Romney POTUS today….

                My friends and family have all disowned me and some said I was stupid for not taking the bribe Romney’s gang offered me and a chance to be his partner.

                That would encourage the evil to grow stronger and branch out. My being liked is secondary to the epidemic of the evil at play.

                —————————

                Secondly – the remarks that this is – or is NOT about race is nothing more than bull [c]hit of the highest order.

                You can’t claim that George Zimmerman was doing his job as a neighborhood watch person (who – by the way – are forbidden from carrying lethal weapons) – holding to the additional (justifying) premise that “Blacks” were the ones responsible for a plethora of break ins;

                and then say Race is not in play!

                Bull [c]hit!

                ———————————

                Finally;

                As to the links provided, there are key (extremely so) pieces of evidence therein.

                a) – GZ says there was a witness there who was instant (a guy with a flashlight)

                WHO – WHERE – is that guy?

                b) – Zimmerman told that “guy” NOT to call 911. Why did GZ KNOW that Trayvon was dead and not in need of medical assistance (forensic question of “if” the wound was instantly fatal would leave NO other conclusion but that GZ lied when he said Trayvon got off from on top of GZ and said the words “you got me” {which – by the way- we do NOT hear on the girls 911 tape – nor do we hear the “your gonna die” that GZ claims Trayvon said})

                c) – MOST important of all – an issue never discussed – and to me is mind-boggling; is that GZ testifies in the Detective’s interview that the guy with the flashlight came up on the scene instantly (again “WHO” is that guy) –

                and George Zimmerman was ON TOP of Trayvon Martin!

                Reply
                • Monica says:

                  And let’s not forget, the racial profiling didn’t end when Trayvon Martin died. The police investigation was shockingly shoddy. Had the roles been reversed, had the victim been the shooter, it seems quite likely that an arrest would have been immediate, and the evidence preserved in a more professional fashion. Plastic bags? They weren’t preserving evidence for a murder investigation; they merely packaged the clothing for delivery to next of kin. Sanford’s history of racial intolerance, which manifests itself not only in the Martin debacle, but in frequent allegations of police brutality and racial profiling, cannot be ignored.

                  Reply
    • Laser Haas says:

      The reasons why cliches are cliches, is due to the fact that they are almost axiomatic empirically. Instead of staying with the issues at hand and/or welcoming open discussion in a rare venue (specifically this arena owned by a journalist, writer etc – who also has much “street knowledge”/ experience with subject matter apropos) and dealing with the fact that a guy stalked someone walking back from a convenience store

      and then the stalker shot and killed the one walking home.

      Nope, it is more important to find fault with David Simon; because that is the character of humanity today. Let’s pull each other down in a fast paced quest of hell bent desire to arrest human development.

      Instead of trying to find a way to be better humans.

      I don’t agree with Mr. Simon on several issues and even find him hard headed; but that’s no where near as disheartening as the ugliness of vanity and contrariness that is pervasive here.

      DAMN people – why are we this way??????

      Reply
      • truthseeker says:

        Not sure what axiomatic empirically means, but I’m assuming it means they’re based on some sort of collective “wisdom”.

        “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones”

        Yep, now there’s a philosophy to live your life by. It works really well.

        Reply
        • Laser Haas says:

          What I wish would transpire – is – a decent discussion of how we can stop the next SYG taking someone’s life under pretense of civility.

          Many things out of whack in this world; but those which put liberty and life in peril are priority.

          This killing is disgraceful. The cover ups endeavored upon it – initially – are systemic pattern of habit by law enforcement throughout America.

          And the resultant ‘Scot Free’ bodes not well for the good order of society;

          and that we all know (or at least should) of “what” we know!

          Reply
      • truthseeker says:

        ps – if the audacity of despair is a bit too raw, check out Rumsfeld’s other classic quotes for a giggle.

        Reply
      • buzzkill says:

        Why are we this way?

        I dunno, but part of it surely has to do with the broken political system that allows ALEC and the NRA and other big corporations to write our laws, since the “representatives” themselves are so busy running for election or re-election that they don’t have time to, you know, actually do their jobs.

        ALEC had a hand in the SYG law in Florida and here in the great state of Michigan, where they also were so kind as to write our “right to work” law. Those same guys are writing laws on fracking and tar sands and locking up environmentalists and animal rights activists as “terrorists.”

        This may not be the venue to make the linkages, but Trayvon Martin is one of the many, many victims of a political system that in bed with corporations.

        It’s almost enough to make one think that an ideology is at work here.

        Reply
        • Laser Haas says:

          It is easy to wrap all the evil of the world up into one ‘ Huge ‘ plot. However, a scientific approach to the issues at hand must also consider the possibility that evil has no unity –

          it simply is.

          Even if, arguendo, your theory of ideology was spot on, the crowd would have to be pushed to the precipice of extinction before it would unify against such. What remains more prudent, even at such a conclusion, is to pursue remedial purposes by guerrilla warfare.

          Attack the weak spots – “separately” – and make a collective dent in the overall war.

          Reply
    • Anna Tarkov says:

      I also live in the Chicago area and I too am deeply saddened (as any compassionate person should be) by the crime, the gangs, the murdered children, etc. But the difference between me and you seems to be that I understand these problems to be symptoms of the diseases of racism and segregation. Trayvon’s death is a symptom of those same diseases so I mourn it equally. As David said, one doesn’t detract from the other and one doesn’t invalidate the other. You should be equally angry about both situations. I will admit to being more angry about Trayvon though because in every single Chicago murder, our police seek to apprehend and arrest the shooter(s). Zimmermam wasn’t even arrested until there was a national outcry. Think about that for a momen. Think about how sick and wrong and unjust that is.

      Finally, if your concern really is so grave about the violence in Chicago, then I trust you are actively working to curb it somehow? Or maybe you’re volunteering for an after-school program in Englewood? Or mentoring black youth so that they don’t turm to a life of gangs and drugs? Or donating your money to organizations that seek to make life better in these battered, forgotten communities? Because surely you’re not just using the murders there as a red herring to distract from a murder in Florida that makes you uncomfortable. No, it can’t be that. Right?

      Reply
      • John says:

        “But the difference between me and you seems to be that I understand these problems to be symptoms of the diseases of racism and segregation”

        You’re saying that the black on black crime is a symptom of racism? Can you explain that a bit more?

        ” Or donating your money to organizations that seek to make life better in these battered, forgotten communities”

        I don’t have a lot of money or time but I will donate money right now. Which charity do you donate to? This is why I want to have a conversation about city violence.

        Reply
        • truthseeker says:

          You can donate to the charity of the truthseeker..I’m always looking for some extra coin to put to good use (myself)

          Reply
        • Anna Tarkov says:

          I would be more than happy to explain and really appreciate you being open to learning. That is an admirable quality.

          To make a long story short, racism caused segregation and segregatiom continues to cause most of the problems for Chicago’s blacl community.

          Here’s something to read for starters:

          http://m.chicagoreader.com/chicago/chicago-politics-segregation-african-american-black-white-hispanic-latino-population-census-community/Content?oid=3221712

          If you reply to my comment, I can point you to other good pieces to read. I’m in a bit of a rush now. And if you’re sincere about wanting to donate your time or money, I can definitely suggest some worthy organizations.

          Reply
          • David Simon says:

            Also, I would recommend the book, “The Promised Land” by Nick Lehman for the historical and institutional creation of a hypersegregated Chicago in the wake of the African-American migration north and the unwillingness of white political and community leaders to allow black settlement in all but a handful of constricted neighborhoods on the south and west sides. And the book, “There Are No Children Here,” by Alex Kotlowitz to get a sense of how isolated one America is from the other from the point of view of two kids growing up in the Horner Homes on the west side.

            The idea that the pathologies that accompany poverty have their origin merely in individual choice is an astonishing ignorance, but it is maintained because it validates a certain contempt of the poor and the racial other, and conversely, it exalts the majority for having “made it.” As if the game was not already heavily rigged from the point of birth.

            That doesn’t mean individual responsibility isn’t an elemental factor in individual lives. It means both things apply.

            Reply
            • Anna Tarkov says:

              John, those are great recommendation by David. I would recommend them too. And in case you’re still looking for worthy causes, I would recommend these:

              1) CeaseFire – http://cureviolence.org/
              2) St. Sabina – http://www.saintsabina.org/
              3) Black Star Project – http://blackstarproject.org/action/
              4) Big Brothers Big Sisters – http://www.bbbs.org

              There are doubtless many others. I bet you could find out what they are by calling the offices of aldermen who preside over the wards where the majority of blacks live in Chicago.

              In addition, I would suggest reading the Chicago Sun-Times’ crime coverage, both past and current. And read more of Steve Bogira on The Chicago Reader’s website. Segregation is kind of his beat and he writes very well on it.

              Reply
          • John says:

            I am sincere. I don’t think debating about these things help. I’m a little uneasy about just handing off money to some charity without knowing if it is actually going to help someone but I will if it seems legit.

            I will check out this article but I’m just not seeing racial segregation as justification of all the murders in Chicago. I do agree that one may have been unfairly dealt a hand but free will has to come into play at some point.

            Reply
            • David Simon says:

              John, we’ve built two Americas and done so over generations. One America is wedded and integrated to our economic system. The other is divorced from it. Again, read more widely about the dynamics that have formed the American inner city and how we are all economically and socially complicit in having built such hyper-segregation and entrenched poverty. Blaming this all on every single kid born into the Robert Taylor Homes is awfully dishonest and racially convenient.

              Reply
              • John says:

                Okay, I will read these books, but I still think we can not excuse every crime and murder on were they are born and their financial status. If I’m poor and grow up in a bad area, I sell drugs and kill but that has nothing to do with my choices because it’s just the hand I was dealt. That can’t be what you’re saying, right?

                Everything comes down to a choice you make.

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  We will agree that outcomes are both things. Individual responsibility and systemic influences and circumstance. Again, they are not contradictory, they are both present.

                  Reply
      • truthseeker says:

        Really Anna, do you honestly believe racism and segregation is a disease, or it that just a way to classify it’s destructiveness?

        Getting back to the Trayvon case, Zimmerman wasn’t arrested (correctly as it turns out) because the cops believed there wasn’t a case. I’m still unsure if Zimmerman is a racist. No evidence whatsoever. Are the players victims of the system? Sure, I’ll go along with that.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Actually — and I know this from my time inside a functional homicide unit — the performance of the Sanford police was self-fulfilling. If you don’t seize the immediate window of opportunity after an incident and secure all the evidence and every possible statement and detail because you are a little busy throwing up your hands and saying, SYG makes this not a case — then it won’t be a case. There were enough equivocations in Mr. Zimmerman’s statement that a good investigator could have explored, locking him into a more detailed statement than they did. But the Sanford P.D. rolled over at a critical moment. SYG actually impaired this case from its earliest hours.

          Reply
          • truthseeker says:

            Agree 100% with your assessment of the initial investigation. That this case made it to court was an act of political will. That they couldn’t convict Zimmerman was a failure of the prosecution in my view – there’s so many holes in Zimmerman’s testimony (or lack of it, which is also a big flag, I don’t know of any innocent person who isn’t willing to get on the stand and tell the truth if they believe they’re innocent), his video tape footage alone of how Trayvon alegedly reached for the gunis pure bs in my view. If I was on that Jury, he’s guilty.

            ps – the fact America is now hooked on this case says a lot, meanwhile it’s business as usual in Syria, drone strikes still happening, Bradley Manning still being locked up without a verdict, NSA still hoovering up the data pile, Detroit bankrupt, but no….NO! Let’s focus on one case and make something out of it.

            Reply
            • truthseeker says:

              And I forgot to mention that big oil and gas is still wrecking the environment with fracking.

              Reply
              • Laser the Liquidator says:

                Don’t get me started on how we are fr–k’d by fracking. GASLAND is a wonderful grass roots effort and the frack stuff is sort of apropos to this saga.

                Fracking is so powerful and organized criminal lobby that Senators/ Congressman boil red during hearings and the obfuscating banter they get in retort to simple questions.

                In Penn. it is against the law for doctors to tell parents what chemicals their kids are ill (and sometimes even dying) of.

                It is a black & white issue and we – the U.S. Citizenry – are powerless (in our current state of being) – to prevent the disaster going on around U.S.

                Much in the same way that “we” are powerless to stop the SYG funded lobby buying new laws thereof…

                Reply
                • truthseeker says:

                  Check out gasland 2. At this point, the American people are fucked. I intend to go off grid asap, and return to tending chickens etc in the most remote part of the country where I live. The trinkets of capitalism – and what it promises is a illusion, it’s designed to break down the human spirit, not enhance it. Fuck Simon’s assertions that we must all live in the cities. That shit aint working.

                  Reply
              • Laser Haas says:

                Gas Land documentaries work (and was nominated for an Oscar) – because it is a nationwide (likely worldwide) issue and corporate/biased main stream won’t report such things.

                I concur with Mr. Simon that the name calling (ranting for sake of ranting) – should be turned off.

                As for the argument that we should all live in cities “only” – 1) – I missed the passage where Mr. Simon made that assertion and – 2) – I’d have to see the evidence and written statement of premise/theory why such is a necessary model. (Though I do like the idea that we all live in cities and preserve the planet more readily) [At the same time, I also know that mankind would abuse that process also].

                Furthermore – I again concur with Mr. Simon – that all things come from a collective gathering of consciousness/ acquired intelligence.

                Everything we can/will and could ever possibly think of – already exists. Mankind’s perpetual nature of seeking the pathway of least resistance always is reaching for more, higher, better and “easier”.

                Bill Gates took advantage of others to build Microsoft (especially the hubris of IBM stating that Windows would have to be loaded “under” Lotus).

                Einstein built upon others knowledge – even in his musical prowess.

                Edison was a ganef of expert quality who knew where to place/motivate people in the Patent Office.

                Finally, on the issue of the moon and/or anything else that Mr. Simon says “Puhhhlllleeeassseee” about – I’m already living the surreal, have learned to open my eyes/ mind more and consider being called a Conspiracy Theorist a badge of honor. For it is wisdom /intelligence to “consider” all things possible, eliminating to probable and winding up with Facts. As this scientific approach also educates me that there are many more CT’s of a different sort in the world; which is much more harmful to human development.

                That is those “Coincidence Theorists” who choose cognitive dissonance over the angst of facing reality.

                One such reality is the fact that the nation, due to the verdict in this case – is suffering from Legal Abuse Syndrome….

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  “Goniff” is the recognized spelling. Yiddishkeit has standards, too.

                  Reply
                  • Laser Haas says:

                    LOL – you say Shabbot – I say “chavitz” (and we can all eat at Mrs. Adler’s and have her school us for both being whacked)

                    I’m a late bloomer yid. (learned that the person I believed my Grandmother was actually my STEP GM when I was 45).

                    BTW, my “Step” GM purportedly rode 7 Baptist ministers to the grave (but she was sweet to me for helping her – gave me my 1st car – a DeSoto)

                    Reply
                • truthseeker says:

                  OK, it’s all good. How do you stand on UFO’s? I’ve been watching a lot of UFO documentaries on history channel. I particularly liked ” I Know what I saw”. Comments please? I believe that aliens are regularly visiting the earth. (save the tin-foil hat jibes, please).

                  As for the other stuff. I don’t wanna pull this card, but I’m forced to. And it’s indefensible. Regardless of walking on the shoulder of giants, it is always incumbent on one person to stretch that knowledge one inch further. I’ll admit we’re splitting hairs now, in a chicken and egg analogy. There is a dichotomy – the collective disempowers the individual, whilst empowering him at the same time.

                  Reply
                  • Laser the Liquidator says:

                    OFF TOPIC guy.

                    That being said, if one believes in G-d, then you already believe in an alien state of being contrary to mere human /earthling existence.

                    As for me, I must admit that I’m one of those former RWNJ’s who began to see the light when Meteor Blades at DailyKos converted me by saying “When you grow up enough to think for yourself – please return to have an “intelligent” conversation; which resulted in anger/ denial/ depression and acceptance. It sucks to admit your naivete is borderline stupidity.

                    I’m with Carl Sagan and King Solomon on this issue. Everything under the sun is vanity and – if we are ALL that there is – it would be a terrible waste of space.

                    Scientifically, it is the same as RWNJ indoctrination to be closed minded to possibilities.

                    With the final caveat on the subject that – “if” we did indeed land on the moon – then WE were the Aliens.

                    N’est-ce pas!

                    Reply
            • truthseeker says:

              Note when Zimmerman gives the demonstration of how Trayvon reaches for the gun, he’s standing up? Not rolling around on the floor?

              Webmaster, please add my latest masterpiece to the above.

              Reply
          • Laser the Liquidator says:

            I concur with the analogy that the laxity mindset that it was a SYG issue; resulted in no desire to gather evidence to the contrary.

            However, it is perhaps an over simplification to simply put it that way. There are questions appropriate as to – whether or not – the SYG instant ruling was based on the race of the parties. (The deceased being black and the shooter not being black – versus the question of “IF” the races were reversed and GZ was dead on the ground – would the rush to SYG had been so immediate)?

            Furthermore, the elephant in the room being ignored out there (and even here) – is the fact that GZ’s father was a retiree of the system (a justice of some sort) and the Sanford PD was well aware of who GZ was (and perhaps who his father was). They did (initially) tell TM’s parents that GZ was “squeaky” clean.

            And – as for the remark above that there is NO evidence of racism. That’s incongruous.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/trayvon-martin-george-zimmerman-evidence_n_1528268.html

            Reply
  17. Snot says:

    In following the discussion about SYG, gun culture, and race in our American experiment, it seems to me that one big undercurrent flows throughout: Collective vs. Individual. To illustrate this point, allow me to share a clip that my friends and I have been bandying back and forth lately. I believe it is pertinent to the broader conversation, so bear with me for just a moment as I try to bring it back around. Take a minute and let this wash over:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaEwlsYnMR4

    I ask: Is this not the America that we all wanted, once upon a time? Various races, getting along amongst themselves, a black guy receiving congratulations after presumably having a job interview go well. “A place where pride is worth a whole lot more, than money can buy…” People with good jobs with union wages, with enough change in their pockets to enjoy a High Life with their pals. “Where people care about their [American] family, where laughter’s sincere…”

    Now, *of course,* I am admittedly filling in the blanks here through a rose-tinted lens. Reagan’s 1985 America was hardly a utopia. But the idea of an American collective used to be hip. Hip enough to sell shitty beer, at least. Can you imagine anything being sold today based on a co-optation of the shared vision of a unified America? I can’t. How/when/where did we get cheated out of this America? When did life become so devalued? In the parlance of The Wire, “we used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.” How far we done fell indeed.

    I think there is real utility in understanding how we arrived at this place, but perhaps a more important question is: how do we change it back? The pendulum is swinging so fast away from collective primacy and towards individual primacy, as evidenced by SYG and the American gun culture, as well as people’s willful insistence on denying any effects of race on our society. It’s all about me and mine. I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack. Consider matters with an eye to the good of the collective? Fuck that shit!

    I’m a North Carolinian, to boot, so don’t even get me started on the shenanigans my state’s legislators have been up to. I am rightly, I believe, feeling a little fazed, a little dyspeptic these days. But how do we swing it back? What levers do we try to pull? I think the link to the poetry at the bottom of this blog post is a good place to start. Obviously, perusing your work, Mr. Simon, is another (it wouldn’t kill you to acknowledge that you’re owning that truth, brother!) I think it’s been invoked before on this blog, but bears repeating, that maybe another good starting point would be to understand that “we have met the enemy, and they are us.” A lot is at stake here. Let’s stand our ground against the sea change of the diminution of the collective in favor of the magnification of the individual.

    Reply
    • truthseeker says:

      Ha, looking for meaning from beer commercials. Just drink the damn stuff – it works. Sex and Nationalism sell stuff. Whenever I hear rhetoric about what Americans/America used to be different than today, I just think, when was that exactly? When has America ever been a that utopian paradise?

      Reply
      • Snot says:

        Well, Truthseeker, to answer your question within the context of this and the last few posts, America used to be different than today prior to 2005, when SYG was implemented in Florida. Different legal standards, different burden of proof in SYG cases from then to now. America used to be a different place vis a vis CCW when this commercial was made. Case in point:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rtc2.gif

        Mr. Simon has also explained in previous posts how guns, especially ballistics, changed in Baltimore in the early 80’s and how that engendered different practices and attitudes on guns and gun laws.

        I never said the commercial had profound meaning per se, nor that America was ever a utopia. (To quote the text of my post: “Reagan’s 1985 America was hardly a utopia.”) You can see however much or little you want in it. What I saw in that tiny snippet of a recording was something emblematic of a different set of values and sensibilities. Yes, to me it looks like America gave a rat’s ass about having a collective back then. Ever since around that time, it seems the mechanisms of power in this country have conspired to trend things towards favoring individual rights vs. the good of the collective, as evidenced by changes in SYG, gun laws, etc., which codify this shift. I was simply using the clip as a jumping off point to address actual issues, with actual substance, and maybe even learn something from people wiser than myself about what to do about it. Can we talk about substance? Can YOU talk about substance? Or do you just want to snipe at others’ attempts to? I’m going to try to help you out here and tee this one up for you: indulge us and present your argument as to why America isn’t different today. Or maybe tell us why you think the individual isn’t, or that it ought to be, becoming primary in American society. Anything less is weak sauce on your part. Novel idea: try seeking, oh i don’t know, the truth, or something…

        Reply
        • truthseeker says:

          “What I saw in that tiny snippet of a recording was something emblematic of a different set of values and sensibilities.”

          Well, the advertisers (propagandists) did a great job, that’s all I’m saying.

          Regarding your other points about the individual vs the collective. Wasn’t America founded on the frontier spirit of the individual seeking to get away from the collective group thunk? Of course, now the pendulum has swung mightily the other way (in the liberal’s vocab) – we must all club together in abject misery to make us all feel better about out shitty circumstances. No, sir. we must not. We must rail against the collective at every opportunity. The crowd is always wrong – always. Whatever the crowd does – do the opposite.

          Reply
          • David Simon says:

            You might want to persue the entry on this site that addresses the banality of ideology.

            Invariably, when someone invokes the use “always” or even tries to make a hard, fast rule about how all issues should be approached, the next words out of their mouth are foolish ones. Yes, individual liberty is a create force in American life. So is shared responsibility and community. Our greatest accomplishments as a nation are, not surprisingly, not the result of rugged individualism but of collective will. Any ideology that asserts one value over the other is oblivious not only to our past, but to this world’s future.

            The city of Karachi was 400,000 people at the end of WWII. It is now 20 million. More civic infrastructure is going to be built on Earth in the next century than has been built up until this moment. Meaning, of course, that a society that learns how to balance individual liberty with collective responsibility has a chance of survival. A society that exalts individualism and sneers at the crowd, as you just did, is doomed to inertia and chaos. Selfishness is not a philosophy that is a sufficient blueprint for how to build a just and viable society.

            Sometimes the crowd is wrong. Sometimes the crowd is a crowd for a reason. And when one offers only dissent to the collective regardless of the issue or argument, it really isn’t worthy of the regard in which we should hold dissent. It’s just contrarianism.

            Reply
            • truthseeker says:

              The city of Detroit was a city of 2 million in the 50s, it is now a city of 714,000. The crowd (i.e. the population of Detroit) is now bankrupt. Way to go collective responsibility.
              In general terms all I’m suggesting is that when people group together and more importantly think as one (allow their own thought process to be consumed by the group dynamic, by tradition, etc) – the results tend to be pretty abysmal.

              Example : religion.

              Reply
              • David Simon says:

                You’re not making any sense whatsoever. Do you think that by rushing around and citing anecdotal examples of collective human failure you are proving anything? The Charge of the Light Brigade. Way to go Crowd? The Spanish Inquisition! Way to go crowd! The Holocaust! Way to go crowd!

                Truthseeker, I have few ambitions for this strange little site, but the singular one is to create a haven for people who want to seriously debate and discuss the issues of the day. Can you take a breathe and think upon the glory that is New York or Tokyo or Paris or London or Vienna or Sydney and realize how many of the worlds billions are living effectively in multicultural urban landscapes and that this is humanity’s future, if we are lucky. That there is no plausible return for 7 billions and counting to an agrarian or hunter-gatherer existence. That we will either solve the idea of living together, as different as we are, or we will fail the coming century as a species. Because citing the one urban metropolis in America where deindustrialization, crime, racial foment, white flight and the collapse of the tax base has produced failure is not exactly an intelligent argument against the collective. It’s an argument against the failure of the collective, if anything. Detroit is not Detroit because individualism was not given its due; in fact, the millions who fled Detroit with their tax money over the last decades to Dearborn and Ann Arbor and other suburban locations were exercising individual perogative, there was a collapse of the collective. Which shows where your logic truly leads.

                Again, what the human species has accomplished in terms of every affirming moment of progress — representative self-governance, or longer life spans, or lower child mortality, banishing slavery from most parts of the globe or traveling to the moon — has been a triumph of the collective, not the individual. And our failures are not an argument for the individual to hold sway over the collective — they are an argument for greater shared responsibility to be brought to bear.

                I have to tell you that scarcely has a thread on this site acquired such hyperbolic nonsense before. It is ad hominem, I will admit, but I am curious. Where on this green earth do you live that you can so readily dispense with our shared future? As Kafka said, you are free to turn away from the griefs of the world, but perhaps this turning away was the one grief you might have avoided. If your stance is the end game for libertarianism, it’s no wonder that I find so little that is admirable in the ideology.

                Reply
                • Laser the Liquidator says:

                  Distressed scenarios and restoring order from the chaos – just so happens to be my profession.

                  A key component of the equation is not being reviewed (and quite frankly Mr. Simon, I’m fearful of your reprisal on broaching the subject factually).

                  That being the fact that Michigan, as a whole, is now a realm of disenfranchising on a level not heretofore witnessed.

                  The primary industry was gutted in the massive billions (auto industry).

                  City managers acting contrary to good faith are gutting what little there is left (that they can) – under some bizarre emergency provisos.

                  And – most importantly – all major law firms are foaming at the mouth of “assisting” municipalities utilize the bankruptcy system to “save themselves” from creditors/collectors.

                  Prior to this millennium it was a matter of rule that Towns, Schools, Federal Government, Military could never fail to pay an invoice/debt.

                  That is all changing and the proverbial slippery slope is iced with greed, plots, schemes and ploys unfathomable.

                  You are seeing just the tip of the iceberg, of what is to come….

                  Reply
                • truthseeker says:

                  “Again, what the human species has accomplished in terms of every affirming moment of progress — representative self-governance, or longer life spans, or lower child mortality, banishing slavery from most parts of the globe or traveling to the moon — has been a triumph of the collective, not the individual. ”

                  Wrong again.

                  If you examine all the good stuff people have accomplished, it is generally speaking, one, or two individuals who have done it – against the collective might of the crowd – and it will continue to be thus. History is littered with mavericks who went against the common thinking of the masses.

                  Rutherford, Jonas Salk, Bill Gates, Darwin, Einstein….

                  Sorry bruv, but I’m right, the crowd are idiots.

                  The crowd are idiots.

                  Ps – what has travelling to the moon done for humanity – diddlysquat (if they really did land on the moon)

                  Reply
                  • David Simon says:

                    You really think nuclear physics is the work of Rutherford alone? Not various advances building on one another.
                    You really think Gates is a singular creator? Have you seen Silicon Valley?
                    Einstein alone? No room for Bohr? Or Szilard? Or Fermi?

                    You’re just naming names. And your moon comment? Geez.

                    Which individual won WWII for th Allies?
                    Which individual built the Transcontinental Railroad?
                    Which individual held Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg or the Sunken Road at Antietam?
                    Which individual made the Birmingham bus boycott victorious?
                    Which individual ended the Dustbowl and restored viability to agriculture throughout the Plains states?
                    Which individual developed that viable long-term therapies for HIV?
                    Which individual founded the United States as an independent republic?
                    Which individual eradicated smallpox as a global disease?
                    Which individual cleaned up the Charles, Cuyahoga and Potomac Rivers and Lake Erie over decades?

                    These were collectivist achievements.

                    You’re arguing just to argue or you’re being silly. Also, I’ve killed out a couple posts where you’ve violated tone here. Stay on point, avoid name-calling, please.

                    Reply
                    • truthseeker says:

                      These were collectivist achievements, What came first the individual or the crowd? , Jonas Salk created the small pox virus by injecting it into himself. That’s an individual effort.

                      Why are we at loggerheads here? The individual always comes before the great idea – even if they’re working in a crowd.

                      Admit you’re wrong, Simon. Dare you.

                    • David Simon says:

                      Well, for someone who is supposed to admit being wrong, I know a few things: Salk didn’t have anything to do with the global eradication of smallpox or with smallpox in any sense. He was involved in the eradication of polio, a campaign which actually began, before Salk even joined it, with one of the greatest collectivist acts in American pubic health history — the March of Dimes. An appeal was made for Americans to each contribute a dime to the founding of a clinical testing campaign for a polio vaccine. Within a week, Americans had sent in 2.6 million dimes to begin the prolonged effort. Salk didn’t discover the agent that causes polio; other doctors had already done that. His one great contribution was to argue for use of the safer “killed” version of the virus in a vaccine. In his initial studies he worked with a group of five other researchers, and they were funded by other groups and backers including the March of Dimes. The clinical studies involved about 20,000 pubic health workers and physicians, not to mention tens of thousands of vounteers. And no, Mr. Salk and his family weren’t the first people to test the virus.

                      The eradication of smallpox, by the way, was a global public health triumph that involved a decades-long campaign by health officials and political leaders on every continent. It is one of the great cooperative ventures in the history of man. And you can’t name the singular human behind it because there was no singular force; it was a collectivist effort to vaccinate a disease out of existence by the global reach of a public health initiative.

                      Other than that, your post was accurate. We are at loggerheads because you’re now just making shit up and posting it without regard to reality. I’m ending this. It’s too dumb to waste more time on. Seriously.

          • Laser Haas says:

            Absolutism is a fool’s folly. If the “crowd” is doing wrong, then don’t be part of the crowd. If the collective is doing something positive, then consider whether to sit idle by and/or joining the good effort if needed.

            One Contrarian thought himself a Praetorian of the realm by utilizing antagonism as a way of testing/improving intellectualism.

            Upon his constant banter that you are gay instead of straight, black instead of Caucasian and a ganef instead of honest; I once capitulated and said – okay – I am.

            He said “No – You are Not”!

            His “brilliance” being the “profound” introspect that, as one is becoming “enlightened”, you are even in more need of being “checked” for your system of values.

            The ideology is contrary to the quest.

            Laws are (purportedly) placed as a burden upon U.S. for the sake of the good order of society; which can have a great tendency to muck up individualism. (One’s right to smoke does not give one the right to do so in the restaurant I’m paying to enjoy the meal of).

            In this particular case of stand your ground being tested – on the racial plane – (not even to its extreme) details end results foreboding. The absolutism that the Law is paramount and SYG is solution is errant; because a “crowd” is fore or against; is inane.

            What bothers me most, is our apathy and laxity on the subjects at hand. For as we dally in the wind, with contrary banter, arbitrarily – another gun is being loaded and person(s) are in peril.

            It is inevitable that this 3rd rock from the sun doth one day bust at the seams from many 400K areas of people become 20 million and our technology, combined with our never ending ambition to conquer the next frontier, will push us to the stars.

            Will we be a virus of the universe? Or its “good order of society” salvation? Mr. Simon made his remarks about America’s conscience as an individual. In great part I concur. While not being diametric to the “crowd”.

            But I also find it an alarming proposition that we humans (more often than not staying rigorous in our arresting of “good” human development) – is the best the universe has to offer.

            I love people for what they can be;

            and am ashamed of what we are.

            Reply
            • truthseeker says:

              I really must protest your health nazi stance on smoking in restaurants. It is (or was until everybody decided one whiff of fine tobacco was gonna kill them overnight) the right of smokers to smoke where they damn well please.

              The other stuff? Phew, that’s crazy Jack. I can’t understand it.

              Reply
              • David Simon says:

                At this point, even if the public health codes didn’t give them cover, most restaurants would ban smoking because they’d lose more business than they’d gain. Surely, it’s the right of the establishment itself to serve people based on certain criteria. No shirt, no shoes, no smokes…

                Reply
              • Laser Haas says:

                Steve Martin’s film had an answer to that logic “of damn well please” (which – by the way – is what GZ did)

                He took passing gas to the other level.

                It is not nazi (a bad term to refer to a yid btw) – to say you can’t do as you damn well please 150 miles per hour while drunk in your killer auto.

                Everything has its place…

                Including your cognitive dissonance….

                Reply
          • Snot says:

            Truthseeker: I appreciate you venturing your views. I don’t personally agree with any of them, but I respect that you put them out there nonetheless. I’d have to agree with Mr. Simon’s assessment of your contrarianism though. That you and those like-minded to you seem to be carrying the philosophical day in this country is very troubling-almost shameful-in my opinion. There is a large swathe of the population, probably even a majority, who agrees with you that the collective ought to be totally eschewed in favor of unrestricted individualism. I do not think that is a recipe for success.

            Look, the collective shouldn’t dominate either. No one is arguing for communism here. All I’m saying is there should be a fairly equal balance. This country has been at its best in the past when both of those driving forces were more in concert with one another. My fear is that, given the changes to the laws of the land in recent years, we may tip the scale over permanently.

            Reply
            • truthseeker says:

              Really, you don’t agree with any of my opinions? That’s OK I’m willing to be wrong – my ego isn’t invested in being right :) My op was a bit hyperbolic, but I temper my stance by assuming first that the crowd is wrong, and negotiate from there. .

              Reply
  18. truthseeker says:

    One question I can’t figure out – how did Zimmerman get his gun out if he was on his back taking a beating? Also, how did Trayvon see the gun?

    1) The gun was already out. 2) the Fight was instigated by Zimmerman.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      The possibility exists, of course, but you are being as baldly speculative as all of the people who come here claiming evidence of a potentially lethal assault by Mr. Martin. We don’t know. We only know there is no evidence of a potentially lethal assault and that only one of these two individuals had a gun and used it.

      Reply
      • truthseeker says:

        I know but that was a scenario the jury couldn’t possibly ignore.. It seems so obvious to me. That and Zimmerman’s convenient High Noon type language, you saw him, he reached for the gun. yeah, sure. The other scenario, that the gun became visible after a fight – nah, not buying it. It is speculative but guess not going anywhere. We now have to accept the jury’s verdict, right or wrong.

        Reply
    • Laser Haas says:

      Prosecution blew this case Big Time.

      Murder was way too much of a reach as mens rea/ scienter (the knowledge/intent of the offense) – is NOT there…..

      Reckless endangerment

      Manslaughter as a result of bringing a loaded weapon to a “police are on the way” – stalking pursuit without probable cause.

      Head getting bang because DAMN straight I will bang your head if you are stalking me with your vehicle and then get out and chase me; because I’m self-defensive enough to run from the stalker.

      Doesn’t ANYONE see the perverse logic here.

      If Stand Your Ground is legal – then Trayvon had the right to Stand his ground when Zimmerman followed him with a truck (stalked him) – and then got out of the truck and chased after him (stalking him in a pursuing fashion) –

      By the perverse SYG logic Trayvon could have shot Zimmerman;
      the moment he stepped out of the damn truck and ran after Trayvon.

      Reply
  19. JKG says:

    “6. Listening to Irving Berlin’s sanctification of a nation-state at every seventh-inning stretch.”
    I don’t get it?

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      I hate “God Bless America.” Hate the tune. Hate the pomp. Hate the implication of divine intervention in the affairs of nation-states. Woody Guthrie hated it, too. He wrote, “This Land Is Your Land” as a reply to Irving Berlin’s sap.

      Reply
      • Ben Merliss says:

        I feel the same way about that particular song, and yet I still consider myself a huge Irving Berlin fan. He certainly wrote far better songs under far better circumstances than this one.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Agree. I’m not down on Berlin. He’s no Porter or Arlen or anything, but White Christmas alone is a career. He has plenty about which to be proud.

          Not GBA, though.

          Reply
      • JKG says:

        Maybe you should just go buy some popcorn instead.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          At O’s games, they play “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” right after. Can’t miss that. Tradition in Baltimore.

          Reply
  20. Lakshman says:

    Mr. Simon,
    I am sure someone else has already brought up this point in a response to this or other posts of yours so I don’t necessarily expect you to respond or acknowledge this post of mine but I thought I would say it anyways.
    For those that bring up the fact that stand-your-ground wasn’t even part of the defense or wasn’t “invoked” by the defense at all. I thought it was telling that the defense was able to secure an acquittal for Zimmerman despite not having to invoke that abhorrent law in his defense. Doesn’t that say a whole lot about how our justice system rigged against the black man?
    As an aside, a huge fan of your work not just in the Television space but of your writings and blogs. I first read your “Barack Obama and the death of normal” post and was hooked. Have read every single post of yours over here since. On a selfish not I am glad you don’t have any television work coming up so you can devote more time here :). I fully intend to download “Homicide” on to my kindle and read it as soon as I am done with Churchill’s six volume tome on WWII. Which, BTW I picked up after reading one of your pieces extolling some of Churchill’s work. Anyways, I will quit gushing now. Thanks again for providing this forum, and more importantly engaging with the riff-raff like me out there.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      You are correct that it has been brought up many times before. It has also been knocked down repeatedly. It is untrue.

      SYG wasn’t officially sought by the defense because they wanted six jurors and not a judge to decide the case. But in fact, they were, in Florida, already benefitting wholly from SYG construct. Mr. Lakshman, go read the jury instructions to the Zimmerman panel; it is the SYG standard, with SYG specifically cited. They didn’t invoke a full SYG trial; they didn’t need to. SYG is already built into the Florida self-defense DNA right down to what a jury is told they can do.

      Read the jury instructions and recalibrate, Mr. Lakshman. I’ll expect you back here shortly for an acknowledgment that you’ve been taken in by a lie, an NRA-sponsored meme that is bum-rushing the internet. This has everything to do with SYG.

      Reply
      • Lakshman says:

        Mr. Simon,
        I definitely agree that stand your ground has a lot to do with the case. I admit, I haven’t actually read the jury instructions, nor do I have the legal acumen to analyze the case as well as you or some of the other posters here have.
        Maybe I didn’t articulate my point well enough so I will try again. I meant to say that for those that want to use the excuse, if you so will, that stand-your-ground had nothing to do with this case or that it wasn’t even invoked by the defense (as I have heard numerous people in the conservative media and blogosphere claim), I just thought the claim, even if it was true, was as hollow as the people making those claims.
        Being that I am not as articulate as you or even some of the other posters here, I can only hope that what I am trying to convey is clear this time. around. Thank you for responding to my post.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          I’m sorry, I thought you were going the other way. But in turn, I will acknowledge that while I don’t believe Mr. Zimmerman should have been acquitted of manslaughter under even a standard self-defense argument, I understand that a jury verdict is an imperfect and imprecise outcome. But I certainly would be more tolerant of a bad outcome if it came under rules of law that weren’t rigged to favor gun rights over civil liberties, and to justify the use of lethal force against non-lethal threat.

          There are a lot of things that can go wrong in court when a white man shoots a black teenager and cries thug, especially if the jury contains no African-Americans. But if SYG is the overriding legal standard, nothing can possibly go right. Does that put us in harness?

          Reply
          • Lakshman says:

            “Does that put us in harness?” It does, indeed. Presuming you mean to ask if we are in agreement.

            Reply
            • David Simon says:

              It’s an old phrase, for yoking two oxen in harness. Meaning they are tasked to the same work. Sorry.

              Reply
              • Lakshman says:

                Tavis Smiley on Meet the Press. ” The hypocrisy of the NRA..not one of them has come out and said ‘If Trayvon Martin had a gun he would be alive today’.” Paraphrasing, of course.

                Reply
  21. Katie says:

    Mr. Simon,

    What did you think of the President’s speech yesterday? He certainly is in a unique position to speak to this issue, I think. I love a good speech and thought this one was great, but can’t help but believe that the people who could most benefit from his POV won’t listen.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      I thought he did very well. He was constrained, careful, and he left room for this particular jury verdict — as bad as it was — to stand, which is all that he can do. But then he went to the overlying issues and ultimately to SYG. That’s where the rubber hits the road. He took it to the place where change needs to happen.

      Reply
      • steven zhou says:

        Cornel West was on Democracy Now this morning and called Obama a “global George Zimmerman” lol. He says Obama has little moral authority right now to talk about this because drones have killed 200+ children across the globe.

        When that guys comes, he comes with a 2-by-4….wow.

        In this case I guess he’s at least partly right…

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Well, you know I had thought about that. The drone warfare is effectively pre-emtive strikes in which were claiming a rational of self-defense against a potentially lethal attack. If we happen to be killing the geopolitical equivalent of a menacing, thuggish criminal intent on mayhem, well, okay. But given that it’s all extra-legal and without recourse by those killed, what about when it’s the geopolitical equivalent of an unarmed seventeen year old kid wearing a hoodie?

          Cornel West has a point here.

          Reply
          • steven zhou says:

            You know (and I suspect you do), that “geopolitical equivalent of an unarmed seventeen year old kid wearing a hoodie” actually exists. It’s the son of Anwar Al-Awlaki, Abdul rahman. He’s was 15 or 16…can’t remember. It’s a totally heartbreaking story. Personally, I sort of read it (and the analogy isn’t a close one) as another version of, say, the story of some kids caught up in some corner somewhere.

            He’s a citizen, and went looking for his dad. He got droned to death 2 weeks after his dad died the same way. It’s tough to get a real body count on these deaths, but the New America Foundation, along with other reputable groups put the number of dead innocent bystanders in the hundreds. I’ve spoken to researchers who’ve been on the ground, and they stand by those numbers.

            Anyway, in the same interview West makes the larger point that Obama and Holders’ stories about how they got profiles, etc. “hide and conceal just how ugly and intensely vicious it is for black poor, brown poor.” I guess it’s good commentary on the state of American politics that it takes a T-Martin for Obama to really speak out on these problems.

            Reply
            • katie says:

              Yeah, he did make that other excellent speech about race in 2008, but again, only when it seemed like he had to because of the Jeremiah Wright thing. I think it says a lot about race in America, not just politics. Us white folk (in general) seem completely incapable of dealing with the anger from the African American community.

              Reply
              • Snot says:

                Katie: Please allow me to share with you and the rest of the readers the latest entry from Renee Moore’s blog. Ms. Moore is an amazing educator in the Mississippi delta.

                http://www.teachingquality.org/content/why-are-they-so-angry-race-101

                I thought her observations were pertinent to your post and the broader discussion. Really powerful stuff.

                Reply
                • katie says:

                  Wow. Thanks, uh, Mr or Mrs Snot. :)

                  I love anyone who works a “bless their hearts” into a piece of writing. Seriously, I will share this with my educator friends. It reminded me of part of the President’s speech when he called on us to ask ourselves if we wrung out as much bias as possible from our point of view. (that’s a paraphrase). It really stuck with me.

                  Thanks again.

                  Reply
                  • David Simon says:

                    My wife is from the South. “Bless their hearts” can mean anything from “they know not what they do” all the way up to “those fucking brainded morons.” It’s never in the words, which come out like butter. It’s all in the facial expression.

                    Reply
                    • Milford Avenue Charlie says:

                      Like Silver Spring wasn’t still somewhat southern when we were in elementary schools a mile apart? It was less than a decade after the county school system desegregated.

                    • David Simon says:

                      Probably a seminal moment for me in understanding racial dynamics was when I went to Montgomery Hills Junior High School. A third Silver Spring Jewish, a third Friendly Gardens/Glen Ross/Rosemary Hills black and a third Wheaton greaser. In elementary school, we had played Little League and rec football and basketball with the kids from Friendly Gardens, so in seventh grade when racial troubles began between the black kids and the greasers, the Jewish contingent sided more with the black kids. The greasers hated us for answering a teacher’s questions now and again; the black kids knew us from all those pick-up games at Rosemary rec. Of such small allegiances is a New Deal Democrat made. That and the politics in my household, I suppose.

                      Where did you go to school and how old are you?

        • katie says:

          Wow. BOOM. Yep, he does make a good point.

          Still, I would like to see speech/press conference matter. It seemed important.

          Reply
    • Monica says:

      Katie – you’re right, the people who need to hear the message won’t listen. Not when their friends at Fox have this to say:

      “Now the president’s saying Trayvon could’ve been me 35 years ago,” Hannity said on his radio show. “This is a particularly helpful comment. Is that the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow — I’m not sure how to interpret because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night.”

      All of which is, to quote Thomas Harris, “slick obfuscation and facile bullshit.”

      Reply
      • Katie says:

        Glad to know that Hannity is living up to every expectation I have of him. Geez. Yeah, thanks Sean, any chance to give us an excuse is NOT take an honest look at ourselves is a great service to humankind.

        And here comes the hyperbole. Maybe he’s the one who should leave the country. :)

        Reply
        • Laser Haas says:

          Don’t forget that Hannity, Rush etc., are part of the Clear Channel Communications 800 radio and TV stations that reach out to more than 100 million listeners.

          Be that as it may, even with those stations falsely reporting that Obama was losing CA and Romney had won Ohio, MI and Florida

          The people were smart enough to see through the B.S.

          Hannity and his ilk are damnation bent to find fault with the non-white guy in the oval office with a no WASP name of “less than desired American kind”

          When Hannity finds fault, it is because good people are listening to sound logic and reason; and the tilted minds are needed for the sake of their veiled (obfuscating) agendas.

          SYG will only stay – if we go away!

          Reply
  22. thork says:

    1) Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under – Mencken.
    I think this is true for all; decent or not, at one time or another, no matter what skin you are in, or where you are on the planet.
    2) I wear a hoodie all the time. I am a WF and I like candy. I do not own a gun.
    3) When threatened and not cornered, it is instinctive, preservative, to flee. – Especially if you are already in an SUV.
    4) SYG. For your beliefs, absolutely, but that’s it.

    Reply
  23. Kevin Stevens says:

    It is clear that for some, the only problem with racism in America is that white people are accused of it.

    Reply
  24. Russ says:

    Hello. Im a fan thought id ge that out there first.

    Ive been reading comments and so on about this case an i think Zimmerman should be in prison. But Im not sure about the racial element of it all. To me it has been hijacked.

    And here is one reason http://rochester.ynn.com/content/top_stories/490926/jury-finds-roderick-scott-not-guilty
    In New York a few years ago a black man named Roderick Scott approached 3 teenage white kids who were trying to get into his car. He took a gun with him and told them to stop in a kind o citizens arrest situ.

    apparently one kid decided to run at him and Scott shot the kid, who died

    Not guilty o manslaughter – self defense.

    The cases are very different but in many ways the same. Two vigilantes playing cop. two dead teens.

    To me it is indicitive that it is the law full stop that is wrong – unless you can condone the killing of a white kid for petty crime.

    Funny though, how that case did not even make the national press as far as i can see.

    It might be a tenuous link but it shows how the Trayvon case has been hijacked by all sides, and has become a media circus.

    The travesty is the law that says you can kill someone for very little, and also that so many are using the racial element to serve their own agenda

    Thanks

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Goddammit, Russ, you are only the twelfth person here to cite this case, but you know what, you’re one of the first to actually get it completely wrong. Scott was found guilty of manslaughter. Guilty. Not innocent. Guilty. And appropriately so.

      Check a fucking fact before you launch yourself into this small part of the internet. We require such. Otherwise go troll the Fox or Yahoo comment boards.

      My apologies for being blunt, but do you know how irrelevant and wasteful it is of everyone’s time to come in here with another case — which of course doesn’t in any way obviate any of the facts of this case or the racial dynamic inherent in this case — and still, you actually get your facts wrong?

      Reply
      • russ says:

        except he was found not guilty. show me wrong if u can

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Is this the upstate NY case in which the black gunman was confronting a group of white youths, killed one and was convicted of manslaughter and got two years, only to be pardoned by the governor? I thought so. If I read quickly and mistook that case for another — and it seems I did, checking back on it, I congflated this case with the John White conviction in NY.
          Well, given the numbers of cases being tossed at me by white people who would rather discuss anything other than the guts and maw of this case — well I can accord you the save-string that I have for just this rhetorical fallacy, to wit:

          “Greetings. If you are receiving this form-response you have arrived at this site lacking the intellectual rigor or the moral core that will allow you to honestly discuss the actual dynamics of the Zimmerman-Martin tragedy, and you have, as an act of rhetorical dishonesty tried to obscure this fact by rushing to cite any various and random instances in which tragedy befell a white victim or in which a black offender wrought havoc on someone.

          It will seem to you that you have made a meaningful point, in that you think you are saying: See, the black people here are the problem and they should be feared and loathed and addressed as the problem. And the white people are innocent and undeserving of tragedy. And you all are ignoring this.”

          “In fact, in a very transparent way, what you are revealing is that you do not have the courage or the intellect or the honesty to address this tragedy and what happened here. This is because you know in some dark place that you don’t want to go that here, at this moment, the tragedy doesn’t suit your preconceived racism. Here, the dead boy did not have a gun. He was committing no crime. He was black. And the assailant, part-European and part-Latino with a German surname was believed from his earliest moments to be white. And here, with the new advent of SYG standards for self-defense, the game was rigged from the start. And so if we stay here and confront this reality, I will be forced to confront my own biases, fears and assumptions. And this I will not do.

          So let’s go instead to this case in New York/Georgia/Texas/Wherever that I would more prefer to discuss, taking everyone’s eyes off the matter at hand. Because the matter at hand is the senseless death of a black teenager for whom I not only can muster little empathy, but who in my heart I fear and loathe and regard as less than my own humanity. So, quick, find me another tragedy, one in which the black man can be the villain to my great and self-affirming delight.

          We understand your deepest desire. But we aren’t biting. You are full of shit. And the problem is inside of you. And judging from your passion and your resistance to dealing with it, you will be in flight from yourself for the rest of your life. This is not a secret that you hide from the world. It becomes transparent in the twists and tangles of your rhetoric, and in your unwillingness to abandon the logical fallacies that keep you from truthful debate. We see you. We really do.

          Regards,”

          In short, if anyone took a life and they didn’t need to take, and if a jury failed to find the shooter guilty of at least manslaughter in such a death it is a regrettable outcome and citing it does not invalidate a single complaint about the present case. It is relevant to note, however, that in regard to your bringing this case up, that at least the defendant in this case had to face a jury that was asked to consider the case utilizing standard self-defense language, meaning there was at least a higher standard of proof for this Rochester defendant. As it should be in every state, including Florida.

          Reply
          • russ says:

            well to be frank, im not American so I dont really care all that much about how youngo about murdering each other. And I agree wholeheartedly that the guy should be locked up as he is clearly responsible for that kids death. It strikes me as the law that is fucked up rather than a racial case though. Although I am not claiming to be an expert on race relations in America. What stands out to me as well, being British is, if any old fucking crank can legally walk around with a gun, who is gonna be shocked when someone gets killed? The fact that the guy, possibly mentally unstable, was walking around legally with a pistol, shows some deep issues with the law. Never mind SYG, have a look at controlling the fucking guns

            Reply
            • David Simon says:

              We’ve spoken to the U.S. gun culture elsewhere on this site, and it is spoken of directly in my original post. But SYG is a revolutionary liberalization of the right of self-defense under the law, so there is another component operating here as well. And the fact that you are not American probably does mitigate against you having an understanding of our racial nuances. If you ever get a chance, speak to an African-American male and learn about how live is lived in these United States from his perspsective. A recent poll showed 1-in-3 young black males have felt they were profiled/detained/harrassed by law enforcement alone (never mind paracivilian pretenders) in the last month. The number for young white males was 1-in-19.

              Profiling also played a factor in this death, and those who come on this site to claim that a white Trayvon Martin in a hoodiewould have aroused Mr. Zimmerman’s interest to the same degree are simply full of shit. They don’t want to go honestly to an experience other their own and address the racial reality that every black man in the U.S. understands to his core.

              Reply
              • Will says:

                First, how are we to know what would have aroused Zimmerman’s suspicions? He has shown no evidence of racism in his past, for you to call those that think he would not have reacted in the same way to a white Trayvon “full of shit” is quite hypocritical, since none of us know for sure. Your opinion is just that, an opinion.

                Second, let’s say a neighborhood is hit with a rash of burglaries and home invasions, and every suspect that is seen by a witness is a young black male. And let’s say that several young, black males are apprehended with some of the stolen property in their possession. At what point does profiling to a certain extent, such as reporting suspicious behavior and maintaining line of sight until the authorities arrive, become acceptable? Now for a different scenario, let’s say we have several murderers on the loose in a small town. Every one of them have been described as white, older males with a beard and full arm tattoos. Would it not be ok to at least watch anyone fitting that description closely? Are we to turn a blind eye because it is bad to profile, no matter what?

                Third, how do you know Zimmerman knew he was black before calling it in? It was dark, raining, and the person had a hoodie on. He later stated to the operator that he looks black after being prompted, but there was no indication he knew beforehand. Anything else is just pure speculation and an attempt to race bait.

                Fourth, a poll is not really valid evidence. Polls can be flawed, biased, etc and cannot be introduced as fact to win an argument. What neighborhoods were these polls taken in? 1 in 3 have FELT like they were profiled by LE? Which white teens were polled? I’m sure kids in black trenchcoats feel like they are profiled, as do kids riding skateboards, or boys with long hair. My point is just that polls cannot be considered fact, that’s what studies are for. Do some “feel” as if they were profiled because they have been conditioned and told that they will be? Too many questions to rely on the little data given.

                All that said, I do agree with your stance on SYG. I also agree that some of the responses to this case are extremely racist, while others can be considered veiled racism, but that does not mean this case was about race. It was made to be about race (such as calling Zimmerman white Hispanic, we do not call anyone white asian, white native american, nor do we refer to the President as white African American). And you inspired many of these comments by making almost the entirety of your post Trayvon about race. You mentioned SYG once in the first sentence, but not the law itself, only alluded to it. The rest were great exaggerations of how African Americans should run for the hills and expect to be gunned down. You are entitled to your opinion, but don’t be surprised by the replies when your rhetoric was so over the top to begin with.

                Reply
                • David Simon says:

                  We must disagree. I do not think a white kid in a hoody arouses the same addition as did Mr. Martin. And study after study of racial profiling among law enforcement professionals suggests such, never mind the unprofessional but fully armed wannabes. For god’s sake, are you at all attentive to the stop-and-frisk policing culture in New York. Even those officers that don’t want to participate in that unconstitutional misadventure are told they will be shipped to lesser precincts and postings if they don’t make their quota. This is our national culture, and Mr. Zimmerman’s actions and the outcome correspond.

                  Again, that doesn’t make him a racist. But given that Mr. Martin offered NO PROBABLE CAUSE for all that what transpired afterwards, and given he is now dead nonetheless, the benefit of my doubt goes to the victim. You seem to feel it is required of me to prove that Mr. Zimmerman is a racist to suggest that Mr. Martin’s race was a factor in his receiving attention for walking down the street. And yet I say it, directly. It isn’t race-baiting.

                  You know what race-baiting is? It’s the hundreds of assholes who flood the internet to bring up black-on-black crime as if they give a fuck, or find the one case in New York that stands as an opposing example to this travesty, with a white victim (even though that was readily tried by police and prosecutors and the jury acquittal was under the higher standard for self-defense), or who rush around, as you do, pretending that the standards for white behavior aren’t different when they encounter a black youth, even though all data and study of the phenomenon argue otherwise. The passion with which white folk attempt to scrub race out of the national conversation, as if to talk about it and acknowledge the reality is “race-baiting” is just astonishing. And telling. The passion alone — god, let’s not go there and examine this, let’s keep it all unsaid — is indicative of a fear and loathing that is rooted in something deep. And ugly.

                  Reply
                • Anna Tarkov says:

                  You have some nerve intimating that people of color are conditioned to believe that they will be profiled so that’s why they feel profiled. I would guess you have never been the victim of any kind of bigotry. Let me tell you, being discriminated against is a lot like the Supreme Court once defined pornography. It’s hard to describe, but I know it when I see it, they said. Being discriminated against is a lot like that. You know it when you feel it.

                  The ego on you is incredible. Let me ask you this, do you know anything about welding? If you do, just sub in something else there like brain surgery or wrestling. So, ok., here you are, a person who doesn’t know anything about welding. Now imagine you go to a construction site where welders are working. You start giving them orders and telling them what to do. You tell them that they’re dong it all wrong. Would you expect them to be like, ok guys, let’s do what this guy says even though he knows nothing about welding. Not only would they not do that, but they would probably be a little put out that you even had the temerity to go marching in there. They would probably tell you to take a hike.

                  This is effectively what you are doing with the entire African-American community in the U.S. You are treating them like these fictional welders. You know nothing about them, you don’t share their experience, you have no idea what their lives are like and yet you see yourself fit to dispense advice on how they should or shouldn’t feel in response to a poll question. No, I’m sorry, that’s not actually what you did. You found out how they feel and you dismissed it wholesale. What gives you the right to do this? Oh right, your entitlement.

                  Reply
                  • David Simon says:

                    Astonishing game of blame the victim, isn’t it?

                    Reminds me of Henry Mencken writing of the Jewish predicament in the 1930s, in Germany before the war, seeing it all from his Germanic pride and origins, telling the neurotic and uppity Jews that they’re bringing it on themselves, that if they can just go with the flow they’ll see, it’ll work its way out. Will, think for a moment on the definition of empathy. Can you ever see this problem from the other fellow’s reality, or only your own. Because the black experience in America is different than yours, profoundly so. And at moments such as this one, they see things in a perspective that you seem to find it necessary to deny on its face. Your’re certainly entitled to do so. But there’s the very word — right there.

                    If you can’t do any better, then I’m sorry, you’re part of the problem here.

                    Reply
  25. @skitchP says:

    Let’s not be too one sided, as I regularly tweet “I absolutely adore the David Simon blog” and provide a link.

    Reply
  26. Amy Goodwin says:

    I completely understand The Gourds. Their song “El Paso” does it for me!

    Reply
  27. Laser Haas says:

    Regardless of the fact that Mr. Simon and I don’t agree on ideologies of the pursuits of truth. (Mr. Simon has some disdain for CT and I consider those who “consider” the possibility of conspiracies more scientific than most) – there’s one issue I have to concur with him upon.

    George Zimmerman getting away with the homicide of Trayvon Martin embarrasses America!

    It is a racial case, pure and simple. If the roles were reversed and Trayvon Martin followed George Zimmerman, most of Caucasian America would demand TM’s head on a platter.

    And there’s NO statement from the NRA that Trayvon’s should all get guns and Stand their ground!

    I’m just sayin………….

    Reply
  28. Zach Herman says:

    Mr. Simon,
    I’m writing in response to largely to your feeling of shame about young people cheering the death of Osama bin Laden. I am a young person, and I was standing outside of Harvard’s campus the night of OBL’s death, and there were hundreds of young people assembled in front of a statue celebrating, if only for a moment, a feeling of catharsis that the dragging wars and shockingly incompetent governmental response to 9/11 had denied all of us growing up. There was nothing shameful about the celebration of the death of a man who had cast a pall over my formative decade. You lived in the America that existed in the decade following 9/11. I grew up in it. There was nothing sobering about that night for me, and I would urge you reconsider why exactly you felt shame about it.
    Regards,
    Zachary Herman

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      I felt what I felt. I think it would have said what we wanted to the world and to ourselves if we had eschewed the same dynamics we offer for an Olympic sports victory in this, the extralegal killing of an enemy. I was proud that some justice was achieved for the thousands dead in 2001, however belatedly. I felt shame to see the gloat that we quickly put on that necessary act. This is me. And these are my emotions. Your mileage can certainly vary.

      Reply
      • steven zhou says:

        I just so happen to have a friend from NY who was personally affected by 9/11. I won’t say how. He wasn’t sad when he heard the death of bin Laden, but he wasn’t cheering either. He said to me that real justice would have looked different. He told me that after so many innocent people dead in the Twin Towers, and after so many innocent people in the Muslim/Arab world have been killed, renditioned (not sure if that’s a word), or tortured for all the wrong reasons, there’s really nothing to cheer about. His words stuck with me.

        Both the US and Muslim terrorists should have known that “to whom evil is done, do evil in return.” The enormous piles of dead bodies and the destruction of parts of the Muslim world in the post-9/11 era (I grew up in this era) is the product of their evil. None of that is coming back, regardless what happens.
        There’s nothing to cheer about.

        The least that could have been done, to preserve an important patch of the American fabric, was to have a trial for the world to see–even though a “fair trial” would have been impossible, probably. That obviously never happened. The cheering that took place demonstrates the deep insecurity of at least one corner of the American psyche–that to stay “great” means to demonstrate America’s dominance to the rest of the world.

        So what’s there to cheer about?

        Reply
    • Laser Haas says:

      Saying that the (purported) report of the killing of OBL is justice for America is like saying the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald was justice for JFK.

      If one really believes that buildings burnt hot enough to fall to the ground in short order, at near free fall speed (not even beginning to touch Bldg 7) – and yet “miraculously” the passport of Mohammed Atta “survived”.

      It is as perverse an argument to buy into the Warren Commission and/or the Kean/Hamilton Commission – as it is to buy into the logic that SYG laws are good for society.

      Wicked ideologies fed upon us by wicked people who don’t give a flying about you or I.

      Reply
      • David Simon says:

        MR. Haas, did you just suggest that 911 was a conspiracy? Please, I’m not going down that road and we will not be using this site to go down that road. For the sake of your worthy participation here, we will choose to ignore our differences if this is the case and discuss other things. But I can’t muster any interest or time to venture into such theories. I don’t believe them. Nor for that matter do I believe the JFK conspiratorists.

        We could lose ourselves forever in arguments about both, I know. Which is why we won’t go there. I cannot be convinced and I am sure you feel the same.

        Reply
        • Laser Haas says:

          It is your blog and you have the right to curtail the discussions anyway you so choose. Though it is odd that one broaches a subject matter and puts on the brakes when it goes down the slope of discussion.

          Be that as it may, I’m living one of those things that “may” be written about and find it sad that your remark is hard line and obtuse that you “don’t believe them”.

          Evidence empirical shocks our conscience and boggles our minds often (usually far to late to accomplish remedial purposes). Such as the fact that the Baltimore and Eastern Shore jails and prisons did revolt in the past; because of their diet.

          Of oysters, crabs and lobster.

          Reply
          • David Simon says:

            Down the slope is, to my mind, accurate.

            I actually read a lot of the “empiricism” on the JFK stuff. With an open mind. Came all the way around to where I started. Started looking at the 911 stuff and felt the same weariness after I got through some of it. I was a reporter for two decades, a careful one. Proving a negative is not the same thing as validating a conspiracy and ultimately I had too many conversations in which I was dealing with someone who did not agree.

            We will do better here to stay on point. I’m sure there are other venues more receptive. Apologies.

            Reply
            • Laser Haas says:

              Proving a theory is arduous at best. However, accepting verbal, repetitive, babbling B.S. as fact is much more incongruous.

              Why the banter is good here, is the common sense that it is axiomatic people seek qualitative parties (whom you just so happen to be) – in order to ferret out quantitative affirmation of a premise or desire. (Which is what you are in effort of herein).

              Unfortunately, familiarity breeds contempt. This is why Hollywood (for the most part) – sticks by the general rule of keeping your opinions to yourself (especially of others in Hollywood).

              You are cool, because you dared to say your piece and you are to be commended for taking the time with U.S. lowly citizens. Be that as it may – we are ALL human.

              I’m just sayin……….

              Reply
              • David Simon says:

                Understood that you believe I am failing you here. That said, I am uninterested in the can of worms that is 9-11 conspiracy theory.

                I was friends with one of the chief investigators in the Cole and African Embassy bombings who was himself killed in the towers in 2001. It is not an abstract argument for me to have, and I am familiar enough with the last ten years of his work and the real forces that led to his death. Having had some taste of the conspiracy theories, I am being polite in holding my tongue here. I’m sure there are other venues where you can elaborate in detail, as agrees with you.

                Reply
                • Laser Haas says:

                  Don’t hold your tongue for my sake. Vent, if you so need. I’m open (as you say you are) to “legitimate” discussion.

                  I’m truly sorry for your friend.

                  My office was at 1 Wall Street and I was in the process of trying to move into WTC – when eToys.com opportunity came a calling.

                  It is a sore subject for you and I’ll respect that.

                  And, to show you I am sincere – I emailed your gal through the contact thingy….

                  Be well – and have a great weekend.

                  Reply
  29. RFK Posse says:

    I think disgusted or outraged would be a better phrase than shamed as I believe “shame” connotates a larger disagreement with the basic nature and core of America, its people & values rather than specific actions and events.

    That said, you’re the great writer.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this case if you have anything to say even though I know that The Wire has already addressed and depicted this to the fullest:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/slain-witness-in-murder-case-declined-offer-to-relocate-prosecutors-say/2012/12/20/791b7eba-4ae0-11e2-9a42-d1ce6d0ed278_story.html

    I’ll say that I’m personally disgusted to keep reading these articles about witnesses in my hometown being slain.

    People mourn Chocolate City’s disappearance as do I as I love the African-American culture here, but the truth is that there’s a massive influx of Asian immigrants, yuppies and others who are taking food off the table, living comfortably in DC, living largely crime-free and gradually pushing the African-American community out of town. Is there a future for the Swirl City or will it become the Vanilla/Honey swirl and what happens when the population on earth and the fastest growing city in America keeps growing into PG?

    As I’m working on a film concerning the limits of our natural resources on earth, I often wonder how people don’t realize how easy we have it now despite how badly we fucked it up and yet how much more incredibly challenging it will absolutely become in the next century.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Understood that some people take it that way, that one can never express shame with America because they think it implies shame with all American history, ideals and aspiration. But I disagree, fundamentally.

      I grew up in Washington. I miss a lot of the old Washington. But certainly not the crime rates of the 1990s. Chuck Brown needs to be in the R&R hall of fame or that Cleveland joint is just an empty barn. Bring back Gifford’s. But hey, Ben’s Chili Bowl is still there, so there’s always hope.

      Reply
      • RFK Posse says:

        Thanks for your response. I understand your point on the wording. People are absurdly sensitive and easily outraged these days- I often think the internet has precipitated this.

        Hear hear on the good parts of ‘Ole DC. I hope to see Maine Avenue Fish Market (oldest outdoor fish market in US apparently) & Tastee Diner stick around too as I know they’re under threat.

        Things do change though- I’d say Manhattan has probably been transformed even more than DC in many ways. Such is the march of time I suppose.

        I think you’d enjoy my friend’s movie The Legend of Cool Disco Dan that we’re working on distributing. All shows have sold out so far. I know you’re a busy man, but I’d be happy to shoot you a password to a secure site where you could watch it. He also put on the Pump Me Up exhibit at The Corcoran recently.

        http://cooldiscodan.net

        http://www.corcoran.org/exhibitions/past/pump-me-dc-subculture-1980s

        Reply
  30. truthseeker says:

    As a father, if anybody fucks with my son, it angers me. If anybody had the stupidity to kill my innocent lovely son, that imbecile would be a dead man walking – regardless of morality, he’s a dead man, and I wouldn’t care if I spent all the rest of my life in prison for killing that chump. I hate myself for knowing what I would do, but I would do it – bet your fucking arse on that.

    Reply
  31. Snot Boogie says:

    Hi David,

    First of all, let me thank you again for your entire body of work as well as your dedication to this blog. Your near-saintly patience with and tolerance of some posters is admirable. But I guess you got to–this is indeed America, man…

    I say “thank you again,” though, because this is the second time I’ve thanked you for your work. The first occurred a couple of years ago following your talk on “The End of the American Century and the Triumph of Capital Over Labor” at UNC-Chapel Hill. As my wife and I exited the auditorium, I suggested to her that, hey, maybe if we linger around the side of the building for a while, we’ll get a chance to meet Mr. Simon and thank him in person. We commenced to linger, and sure enough our tarrying paid off as we spotted you, Kangol hat and all, ensconced in a human circle of University suits. We eventually mustered enough courage to go over. We decided that my wife would lead the charge, as we figured a comely young schoolteacher would have a better chance at penetrating the iron circle of suits than an oaf such as myself. You were keenly aware of our approach, however, and proceeded to employ the polite ignore. Understandable though, because, hell, as far as you knew we could’ve been just another couple of assholes wanting to know who YOU had winning between Omar and Stringer in your Wire Final Four. For a moment it felt like we were being boxed out of the circle by Buck Williams under the boards, but the persistence of a public schoolteacher won out in the end, we shook your hand, thanked you for your work, and went on our way. Of course, in typical Simonian fashion you tried to humbly eschew our praise by feeding us some bullshit line about how you impacted the conversation about education and other matters as much as some guy writing TV in Hollywood can (which was to say not a lot). Don’t worry, we didn’t buy it. You taught us that every piece matters. Your work matters. It matters to us. And it matters to our country. Don’t ever forget that. Our country, right or wrong? You damn right.

    But enough gushing…I do have an actual question: Do you (or anyone else who may read this post) have any suggested readings for how our legal system transformed from pre-SYG standards to the current SYG standards? Is there an authoritative work(s) on the topic? It has come up in snippets in this blog vis-a-vis the NRA’s influence on legislation and so forth, but I want to know the mechanics of exactly how (in the State vs. GZ case for example) we went from the burden of proof being on the defendant to prove imminent serious bodily harm to the burden of proof being on the prosecution to prove the ABSENCE of perceived imminent bodily harm. Does this make sense? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time, thanks for reading, and, above all, thanks for the beer.

    – SB

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Google Stand-Your-Ground, the NRA and ALEC and you will be overwhelmed with information.

      Florida was their test case, and it is their intent to put this language into every state code. They are at 22 and counting.

      To begin to see the horror show that results, google the Tampa Bay Times and Stand Your Ground.

      Reply
      • Snot says:

        Thank you for your reply and recommendations. I found the Mother Jones article on the subject to be especially elucidating:

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/nra-alec-stand-your-ground

        While I knew SYG was a relatively recent development, I was surprised to learn just how recent of a phenomenon it is. I fully expected there to be full-length books written about it by now. That’s an awfully rapid change for such a seismic shift in American law and judicial norms. Get out the vote, I guess…?

        PS – In retrospect, I hope that the homage-y-ness of my anecdote didn’t come off as overly ingratiating or obsequious and that the tounge-in-cheeky-ness of its presentation conveyed. Was merely intended to be a bit of friendly ribbing over my perception of what I would describe as your desire to get the fuck outa there and find a good plate of BBQ. But the core content and message remains absolutely heartfelt. Cheers.

        Reply
  32. steven zhou says:

    It’s amazing the type of excuses people come up with for Zimmerman and the bullet he fired. Taking a step back and reading all the comments here (though not all the replies, I’ll admit) can give any foreigner a pretty good idea of how the United States is deeply divided and defined by race. My American friends chide me when I say that, but it’s palpable. The excuses range from “gangster rap” to “walking around looking suspicious.” Are you kidding me? How many dumb “black equals dangerous” pieces of rhetoric can a group of idiots come up with?

    Without going into the details of each post, I think it’s pretty fair to say that taken as a whole, the aggregate of these comically racist posts form the skeleton of a deeply insecure worldview. Call it what you want: “white America” or “Tea Party America” or whatever, but the amount of mind-bending done by each of these posts to somehow rearrange and bend the facts (or the representation of each known fact) to fit this worldview is breathtaking.

    By observing the ways in which each of these ridiculous comments avoid a serious debate on Stand Your Ground (a law designed by people crazy about guns to kills people, so people can buy more guns), one can easily confuse the much needed discussion with some sort of medieval plague. I’m losing my breath just trying to keep up with each comment, let alone the replies.

    After much thought, I think I know why this is occurring. A systematic discussion of SYG means a serious and introspective interrogation of one’s own biases and worldview. Nothing scares the racist, fear-mongers more than exactly that.

    Reply
  33. Kevin says:

    I am black so excuse me for being slow. I think I finally get why white people have reacted to this situation, by in large, the way they have. I have stated before within this board that issue is empathy, that if race had nothing to do with Trayvon Martin being murdered that both Zimmerman and Martin could have been anyone acting out of concern for their neighborhood, GZ, or overwrought with adolescent fear, TM. If both could have been anyone, like with the tragedies of Sandy Hook could have been anyone’s kids, it would be easier to empathize, especially to and primarily with TM. White people in America simply do not believe they, their children or any loved one or friend could have been TM. Could they relate to a kid walking at night in the rain on a snack run? Or most importantly, can they relate to a kid, who in exercising his right to come and go as he please all in a completely law abiding fashion, be deemed and looked upon as suspicious? Damn….is part of being an white American that you forgo the burden of being looked at as suspicious in any circumstance, not just the law abiding ones that fit TM the night he was murdered? Because of that, the vast majority of white americans, all of whom i’d say without hesitation are not racist, can sit on the sidelines and be apathetic towards this issue: being looked at as suspicious has never been apart of their existence. I go further and say that those whites, sheltered by their lack of experience with non whites, found solace in their legal arguments and sadly a certain camaraderie with flat out racists and bigots whose solace, in my opinion, was not in just a legal argument, but in the death of a young black male.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Exactly so. It is also why the drug war was able to go on for as long as it has, creating an American gulag and making us the most incarcerative culture in world history. Because white people always assumed that it was a war on minorities and that despite the fact that most drug use is by whites, the war would be waged in the inner cities and would not be directed at them. Only in the last decade, with the economy having shrugged, and with more and more whites caught up in the meth epidemic and in the drug culture in general has the draconian nature of the sentencing guidelines become a talking point. If it had just stayed a war on black folk, it could have gone on indefinitely with very little criticism.

      Reply
    • truthseeker says:

      true. When people are feeding on scraps and fighting over them, logic tends to go out the window. I just think it’s the way people are hardwired – and those in power know all to well. When you create an “us” and “them” situation convenient answers to difficult questions are floated.. Check out robber’s cave study, and Zimbardo’s prison study to see how easy it is to manipulate the in and out group dynamic.

      The way I look at it, it’s the system which isn’t working – not the players – but instead of saying “The system isn’t working. We’ve had enough of this shit.” people find other ways to blame each other without addressing the difficult question – that capitalism in its current incarnation has totally failed, and will continue to fail – and therefore they come up with “race” answers to questions where race wasn’t even the question.

      There are many casualties in this tragedy – Zimmerman, and Trayvon, and the rest of us working under this now discredited experiment called “capitalism”.

      Reply
      • truthseeker says:

        Ps – David, at least now you can emphasise with Michael Moore. Your voice is getting stronger, and those in power hate it. They hate it. And I love it.

        Reply
    • Shakabro says:

      I’m white so excuse me for being slow. People of every ethnicity are getting murdered all the time and especially in Florida. I spent years getting pulled and harassed on scary backwoods roads for having Grateful Dead stickers on my car and long hair and was roughed up in tossed in jail for no reason at all. I also grew up in DC and had several of my white teachers and a Lebanese fellow student murdered in drivebys while in elementary school for no reason at all. I’m furious that there was no manslaughter charge in the TM case, but ask yourself why this particular murder is getting so much more attention than every other murder that goes down every day? The fact that Zimmerman is Latino and had some authority position is the answer. Some of these comments are entirely racist, absurd and unconstructive. Yes, racism is still a problem, but from all sides and more racism will never be the cure for racism.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/gil-collar-shooting-video_n_1958480.html

      http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/5853180/

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/16/stand-your-ground-cases_n_3606405.html

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Eve_Carson

      http://chippewa.com/news/local/environment/paramilitary-style-guards-are-going-to-stay-mining-company-vows/article_47a05df1-9a1b-503f-8d1a-8f0014d5a16e.html

      Reply
      • David Simon says:

        They’re not getting murdered legally, with government sanction. And therein lies the difference.

        So you are being slow. But I’d never say that it was because of race. That would be wrong.

        Reply
        • Shakabro says:

          First, I have to apologize for losing my cool and letting my words become more inflammatory than necessary. My response was directed at Kevin’s comment rather than the original post. Racism is a word that is tossed around too freely for me these days and I should have said prejudice here. I think a great deal of the language even from mainstream sources crosses the line in this debate.

          I can be guilty of saying the wrong thing because of the instant nature of the internet. I get pulled into some dumb behavior and have usually learned to let it go and use my head, but occasionally I get dumb. It’s a weird, highly flawed forum. You’ve done a good thing here so I don’t want to corrupt the discussion.

          I was not saying that race is not an issue in the TM case as it obviously is, but my larger point is that this type of aggression by authority is not just unique to the African-American community even if that’s where it is worst. I absolutely agree as well that ending the War on Drugs is a critical step in beginning to resolve many of these issues.

          I know by your comment that you probably didn’t read my links which is fine, but if you find the time you’ll see that they deal with law and security murdering white students who were drunk or tripping, mining companies bringing paramilitaries onto public land to threaten protesters (largely Native American), etc.

          Reply
        • Shakabro says:

          Correct that the Eve Carson story is not applicable. The stand your ground article just illustrates how easily people can get off for murder under its premises- you’re right that none of those cases involved authority. I believe that the other three do apply though.

          I’m engaging in this debate because I care about civil rights and the issues, but they’re touchy issues that I’m willing to take a chance on, but I don’t want my intentions to get misconstrued. To me, healthy debate is also about raising challenging points that you may not necessarily believe, but would like to see discussed to further the debate.

          Reply
          • Shakabro says:

            And I’m sorry to you, Kevin, for overreacting. I do understand your point and where you’re coming from.

            Reply
    • Shakabro says:

      And how the f*uck are white people being apathetic about his issue? Are you serious??? Why don’yt you ask that of the Latino community? Racism.

      Reply
    • katie says:

      Kevin,

      I think you are spot-on. I believe that fear is at the root of all of our problems and that fear prevents empathy. The world is changing that that’s a threat to the status quo and rather than figure out how to change, people are pointing fingers. I don’t think this is particularly new to our nation, but it seems like there is more widespread danger in part because of how much more connected we all are. (also by design of course, but that’s already been discussed).

      We seek out and easily find confirmation of our own biases on the radio, on the television, on the internet. That’s why I despise those hate-mongering media outlets so much — the both create and embolden the us vs. them ideas and seem to have been wildly successful in creating a vision of America that looks nothing like what I see.

      On the slightly more positive side, I firmly believe that we are witnessing the crumbling of our old systems and the same methods that keep the fearful connected keep people who a share a different vision connected. And I’m a person who grew up in a working class white home in the suburbs with very little interaction with diversity. But I’m not scared. Well, actually, I am a little scared of the armed sociopaths commenting here and elsewhere. But I’m not armed.

      It is possible to have empathy if you allow yourself to be open to it. I try to even stay open to this fearful psychosis in an attempt to avoid the us vs. them dynamic. At times, that’s impossible, but I feel like it’s incumbent on all of us to try to see each other’s common humanity. That’s what I think is the power of Mr. Simon’s work, humanizing the statistics.

      I know none of this high-minded chatter amounts to anything to the people who loved and lost Trayvon Martin, then had to be smacked in the face by the injustice of Zimmerman’s acquittal. Then smacked over and over again by these heartless comments. I don’t think that any appeal to the brain is going to work though, if people won’t change their hearts. People often roll their eyes at my “naive” ways, but I’m convinced change begins at home.

      Ugh. I don’t know. I just wanted you to know, Kevin and all, this suburban white woman stands with you.

      Reply
    • Kevin says:

      Thank you Katie. I appreciate your words and I stand with you as well.

      Reply
  34. Paul says:

    Looks like you locked our other conversation below. I don’t think we were going to reach an agreement, and I imagine your bored to death with the topic – so probably for the best. May I though challenge you one other assertion you made in your initial “Trayvon” post?

    I reject the idea that there was a serious racial component to this case. It was a red herring introduced by the Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump.

    Keeping everything else the same – suppose it was a white 17 year old with a hoodie, walking around behind the town homes and looking around just as Trayvon was doing. Do you really contend Mr. Zimmerman would have behaved any differently or been any less suspicious? What about a 65 year old black woman?

    Young adult males commit the majority of the crime in this country. A high preponderance of people who commit crimes are wearing outer garments such as hoodies, ski masks, etc – for obvious reasons. Regardless of whether you agree with Mr. Zimmerman’s actions (you won’t catch me defending his behavior), if your answers are no and yes, respectively, to my two questions in the above paragraph – doesn’t that remove any racial element from the crime?

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      First of all, a hoodie is not a ski mask. If someone is wearing a ski mask in Florida, yes he is about to commit a crime. A hoodie, no. So don’t equivocate.

      I also reject the description of Trayvon Martin as walking around behind any houses or looking around. That description is uncorroborated. He was walking. He had a phone and candy. And let me tell you something, the Skittles and phone mitigate against anyone looking suspicious. Not a lot of sneak thieves carrying Skittles on a B&E job in my experience.

      So let’s not corrupt what you have. You have a kid walking, working a cell phone, with candy. That’s all. So enough with the scary-ass-nigger-up-to-no-good adornments of actual fact. They won’t play here. Take that shit to Fox or Yahoo and go play on their comment boards.

      Secondly, yes, I think the white teenager gets more of a pass. I think he wears a hoodie and the presumption of thug isn’t so immediate or certain. Being black in America carries with it a burden of suspicion that every person of color understands — and you refuse to admit.

      Polling date shows that out out of every three black males answers in the affirmative if asked whether they feel they had an encounter with police in the past month that they felt was based on profiling and in which they felt suspected and ill-treated. The number for white teenagers so polled: One in 19.

      You are not experiencing the same America as black people. That isn’t because their reality isn’t accurate and precise, or because it has been imagined. They are living a different existence. And when people like you — even in the wake of a tragedy like this — rush in to pretend otherwise without any sensibility about what their day-to-day is, they can only roll their eyes. You just don’t know. But more than that, Paul, I don’t think you honestly want to know.

      Reply
      • Monica R. says:

        “You are not experiencing the same America as black people. That isn’t because their reality isn’t accurate and precise, or imagined. They are living a different existence.”

        Having read, not all, but a good many of the comments on the ‘Trayvon’ post, and both follow-up posts, I’ve had to consciously face something that I’d managed to avoid giving any real, direct thought. I’m a black woman, and I have a son from my first marriage, whose ethnicity is apparent to anyone who looks at him. My daughter, the result of my second marriage to a nice Jewish boy from Maryland, inherited my brown eyes and jawline, but otherwise is the spitting image of her father. As siblings, they’ll both (hopefully) benefit from whatever advantages my household can provide, in terms of education, etc, but their walks in life may differ greatly, all because of the racial factor. Gender differences I was prepared to confront, but the past few days have really brought into focus how differently my unambiguously black son may have to live his life, out in the world, compared to his bi-racial, basically white-looking little sister. I mean, on some level I knew this, but now I *really* know.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          The hunger to avoid confronting the most obvious racial truths is astonishing to me, too. I’m probing it here, in these conversations, because I am amazed at the level of rationalization and avoidance. It’s really remarkable.

          I expected some of it. I didn’t expect such desperate passion.

          Reply
      • Goat says:

        I would like to hear your opinion on whether or not the black community, and specifically the rap culture that reached it’s pinnacle in the early 90’s, has anything to do with your claim (and I agree) that a black teen in a hoodie immediately conjures up the image of thuggery, gangster, and “up to no good”. I think it would be very hard to argue that there isn’t at least a portion of the black population that celebrates this stigma. Thoughts?

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          You know, Goat, when they killed the kids at Kent State in 1970, white middle-class society went to great lengths to spread rumors about the dead girls being pregnant out of wedlock, and suffering from veneral diseases, and about dead guys being wanted by the police and having drugs in their system.

          It took James Michener to write a forensic study of the tragedy to put all the rumors to rest, or so it was hoped. Even after Michener’s book was published, the rumor went on. There are still assholes repeating those rumors today, in the same way that the mythic-thug version of Trayvon will endure. Keeping the lies alive allows everyone to look away from the actual tragedy here, the actual cost. If the victims can be dehumanized, then we are all off the hook.

          I have no fucking interest in using your vague sense of what “rap culture” means or doesn’t mean in the 1990s to whether or not an unarmed teenager can be shot by a grown man with a handgun for walking on a public street. Your passion in looking at every possible excuse for that bullet being fired and that boy being dead is revolting.

          Reply
      • Paul says:

        Uggh. I will go in reverse order:
        “You are not experiencing the same America as black people.”

        No I am not. I don’t pretend to. Does that prevent me from having an opinion on this particular case?

        “Polling date shows that out out of every three black males answers in the affirmative if asked whether they feel they had an encounter with police that they felt was based on profiling and in which they felt suspected and ill-treated.”

        I never said racial profiling doesn’t occur.

        “Secondly, yes, I think the white teenager gets more of a pass. I think he wears a hoodie and the presumption of thug isn’t so immediate or certain.”

        We will just disagree here. I think the math Zimmerman did was: young male in hoodie walking around by himself at night in a neighborhood that has had 8 break-ins committed by people of this demographic in the past year = my guard is up. Set aside whether his actions at that point were right or wrong. Notice David it works WITHOUT introducing a race component. And no, I cannot be 100% sure it wasn’t there. Just as you cannot be 100% sure a race component was present. What’s the difference? I don’t claim to know.

        “I also reject the description of Trayvon Martin as walking around behind any houses or looking around. That description is uncorroborated. He was walking. He had a phone and candy.”

        Again, I am using the account what Mr. Zimmerman told police the night of the incident. You can reject it, but as I said before there is no evidence that any of what he described was not true.

        “First of all, a hoodie is not a ski mask. If someone is wearing a ski mask in Florida, yes he is about to commit a crime. A hoodie, no. So don’t equivocate.”

        I didn’t articulate this well. I didn’t mean to equivocate although I can see where you would think that. I was providing examples of articles of clothing that are common among robbery/b&e perps. I contend wearing a hood is right up there, but not nearly as high as ski mask.

        Reply
  35. Henry Krinkle says:

    David,
    I am really disappointed by your posts on this Zimmerman verdict. You really should use your power and voice for something other than this off the charts leftist pandering vitriol(I am a Baltimore Dem who voted for Obama twice BTW). What good does this race baiting do? Let me put it in these terms, it’s like when Herc and Carver were trying to muscle the desk that was jammed in the doorway. It frustrates everyone, and gets nowhere fast. You know very well that “The season on African Americans” has always run year round, isn’t just in Florida but covers the entire country, and the hunting isn’t carried about by white/hispanic neighborhood watch members. Being completely objective this case could have easily gone either way(manslaughter or NG/self defense). Unfortunately, we’ll never know what actually happened. The fact Rachael Jeantel is going around in interviews saying Trayvon hit first, seems to make it harder to prove beyond reasonable doubt it wasn’t self defense(again we’ll never know what happened, and the prosecution had no interest in finding out or convincing a jury which was needed for a conviction).

    Do me a favor. Read up on a different Trayvon. Trayvon Ramos. He and 3 other thugs beat a young man on his way home into a coma in Patterson Park back in 2005. The man later died, and the criminals all received light sentences(none murder). This story received no national attention, I don’t remember you being “ashamed to call yourself and American,” or “picking up a brick and walking to the courthouse” in Baltimore when this all happened. How come?

    Henry

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Again, sir, you have now earned the same save-string that I constructed last night for another racially phobic poster who attempts to avoid a systemic discussion of SYG and its barbaric legal revolution by trying to draw focus to other, differing cases elsewhere. In your case, tellingly it involves defendants who were actually convicted. Anyway, here goes:

      “Greetings. If you are receiving this form-response you have arrived at this site lacking the intellectual rigor or the moral core that will allow you to honestly discuss the actual dynamics of the Zimmerman-Martin tragedy, and you have, as an act of rhetorical dishonesty tried to obscure this fact by rushing to cite any various and random instances in which tragedy befell a white victim or in which a black offender wrought havoc on someone.

      It will seem to you that you have made a meaningful point, in that you think you are saying: See, the black people here are the problem and they should be feared and loathed and addressed as the problem. And the white people are innocent and undeserving of tragedy. And you all are ignoring this.”

      “In fact, in a very transparent way, what you are revealing is that you do not have the courage or the intellect or the honesty to address this tragedy and what happened here. This is because you know in some dark place that you don’t want to go that here, at this moment, the tragedy doesn’t suit your preconceived racism. Here, the dead boy did not have a gun. He was committing no crime. He was black. And the assailant, part-European and part-Latino with a German surname was believed from his earliest moments to be white. And here, with the new advent of SYG standards for self-defense, the game was rigged from the start. And so if we stay here and confront this reality, I will be forced to confront my own biases, fears and assumptions. And this I will not do.

      So let’s go instead to this case in New York/Georgia/Texas/Wherever that I would more prefer to discuss, taking everyone’s eyes off the matter at hand. Because the matter at hand is the senseless death of a black teenager for whom I not only can muster little empathy, but who in my heart I fear and loathe and regard as less than my own humanity. So, quick, find me another tragedy, one in which the black man can be the villain to my great and self-affirming delight.

      We understand your deepest desire. But we aren’t biting. You are full of shit. And the problem is inside of you. And judging from your passion and your resistance to dealing with it, you will be in flight from yourself for the rest of your life. This is not a secret that you hide from the world. It becomes transparent in the twists and tangles of your rhetoric, and in your unwillingness to abandon the logical fallacies that keep you from truthful debate. We see you. We really do.

      Regards,”

      Reply
    • Laser Haas says:

      This case, the thread/discussions are about TM and GZ; with the added detail that one who wrote much about street life, mayhem, corruption and murder made a Bold statement about feeling guilty as an American.

      I concur, in many more ways that Mr. Simon could even possibly fathom that I’m ashamed of our country – What it is doing and where it is going as a result.

      We have lost our soul and sense of justice!

      As for your remarks on what the witness is saying – it surely is not dispositive. A man was pursued by another. If you followed me with your vehicle, then got out of your vehicle and confronted me – I’m Going to REACT!

      Women would scream; because it would be considered Stalking!

      As the result of a person who is well versed in the Law (GZ’s father was a justice and he studied issues on being a Police/ criminal law much) – Zimmerman through all caution, jurisprudence and common sense to the wind in the pursuit of an agenda made up in his mind.

      If I were to paint my face black, follow your wife or daughter in a truck, then get out of the truck and go after them (especially since they were running away as Zimmerman’s own words on the 911 call stipulate);

      What would you say your wife or daughter’s rights were to strike first?

      If I responded and shot your wife or daughter in that same scenario;
      would you be crying for my right to Stand my Ground and be found not guilty?

      REALLY!

      Reply

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